Knoxville Kopita has replaced Knox Mason’s at Embassy Suites

KoPita Authentic Mediterranean is already planning expansion, and has agreed to take over the main restaurant space at the Embassy Suites in downtown Knoxville once Knox Mason leaves next month.

Owner and chef Avi Zenati told Knox News that his restaurant was toying with the idea of ​​building a new kitchen and increasing capacity at the current location 524 S. Gay St. But the costs were too high.

With Knox Mason recently announcing its plans to leave on July 2, Zenatti contacted Alpesh Patel of Kana Hotel Group, which operates Embassy suites at 507 S. Gay St.

Basically, KoPita is moving across the street.

“We’ve had a lot of interest from a lot of different people,” Patel told Knox News. “I’ve known Avy for two years now and really admired his passion for food. After interviewing so many different people, I was very excited about what he wanted to do in our space there.”

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“KoPita 2.0” added new menu items

KoPita has had an interesting journey, starting as a vegetarian restaurant before opening the carnivore next door and eventually combining the two concepts.

KoPita restaurant owner Avi Zenati, pictured at the KoPita Meat in September 2020, moves his Mediterranean restaurant across Gay Street to the Embassy Suites Hotel.  The hotel, which opened in November 2019, is home to Knox Mason, which will leave its second floor space on July 2.

The Mediterranean restaurant will keep its lunch items, but will expand its dinner menu with more upscale offerings and a focus on Israeli cuisine, a blend of many cultures.

Customers can expect white tablecloths at night and a variety of dishes inspired by Morocco, Tunisia, Spain and beyond.

“It’s a mix,” Zinati said. “The culinary scene in Israel is very developed…so I will try to bring in more and more food.”

KoPita employees prepare ahead of the downtown Knoxville restaurant opening Tuesday, September 22, 2020. KoPita will increase from 10 employees to approximately 25 when the restaurant moves across the street next month to the Embassy Suites restaurant space currently occupied by Knox Mason, which will leave the hotel on July 2.

Between 50% and 60% of dishes will be vegetarian, and everything will be cooked as soon as you order. Despite the high concept, which Patel referred to as “KoPita 2.0,” Zenatti wants to keep prices low.

The hotel has more space and a full bar

One of the biggest changes will be the addition of a bar, which Zenatti admits he doesn’t know much about. KoPita currently only sells beer, but he hopes to find a skilled bar manager to create something special at the hotel.

Overall, Zenatti plans to increase the number of employees from 10 to approximately 25. The capacity will increase from 45 in the current location to 100 in the hotel restaurant, plus 25 in the terrace.

Zenatti plans to open the restaurant on July 15, which is a month or two before room service is offered, followed by “finger foods” at the rooftop bar.

He also plans to keep the restaurant open until midnight Thursday through Saturday with a special late-night menu, something he believes is missing from the downtown Knoxville dining scene.

The restaurant plans to remain open seven days a week.

Embassy Suites Looking For ‘Longevity’

While Zenati said he is aware of Knox Mason’s difficulties with the hotel space, “I believe in myself, I believe in my city.”

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