Massis Kabob is finally ready to step out of the shadow of the mall. The family behind the historic Armenian restaurant, founded in 1976 at the Glendale Galleria, has shored up its first-ever standalone restaurant space, not far away at 301 S. Glendale Avenue. The corner building, which spans some 3,500 square feet of dining space, puts one of Los Angeles’s most-visited kabob shops right on the main drag.
As any longtime Angeleno knows, Massis is a citywide hit for everything from family parties to quick snacks while shopping. Meal packs include chicken and beef skewers, pita, rice, and sides, while everyday dishes before mall browsing might mean pita wraps, gyro plates, or beef koobideh and falafel snacks.
For 46 years, the Baghdassarian family has run a small but mighty micro-chain of Massis locations, each one operating out of mall locations like the Glendale Galleria, the Westfield Century City, and the Westfield Topanga in the Canoga Park area, among others. There was safety in the mall locations for decades, with each drawing loads of foot traffic and hungry customers. But in recent years malls have mostly fallen out of favor — particularly indoor-facing malls, with the Westfield company going so far as to pull entirely out of the American market — and so it became time for the Baghdassarians to begin to grow beyond the retail sanctuaries they have long known.
That’s not to say that this new Massis means that all the others are facing any kind of closure; far from it, in fact. In order for Massis Kabob to stay relevant, co-owner Gevik Baghdassarian told Eater last year, expansion and location ownership would be paramount. After all, isn’t the Glendale Galleria the same place where Panda Express first started, and, six years later, Massis Kabob at that? If Massis could even achieve a portion of that kind of reach and volume, it would be remarkable for one of LA’s most recognizable Armenian food brands.
The new Massis Kabob is step one. Set to open on September 3, the shop will immediately become the largest in the group’s portfolio, and should massively increase its ability to service large-format customers and local diners alike. As with every Massis location, there will be lots of open-fire meat skewer grilling going on, with room for 150 diners at a time across the indoor dining room and attached patio. As for the existing location at the Glendale Galleria, that shop will continue to run like clockwork — and is even being joined soon by a brand new restaurant tenant, none other than Din Tai Fung.