Cypriana Opening Mediterranean Restaurant at Maple Lawn
Baltimore-based restaurant, founded in 1990, signs 5,595 square foot lease at 600-acre mixed-use community and will open its second location this fall
BALTIMORE, MD – Cypriana, a restaurant offering authentic Mediterranean-style cuisine which has operated a sit-down location in Baltimore City since 2017, has signed a 5,595 square foot lease at Maple Lawn, a 600-acre mixed-use community located in the Fulton area of Howard County, Maryland. The new restaurant, which is part-owned by ITA Group, Inc., a division of the Green Turtle chain of restaurants, plans to open at 8171 Maple Lawn Boulevard this fall, and will seat 180 patrons with an outdoor patio that can support additional seating. Maple Lawn is being developed by Master Developer Greenebaum Enterprises along with St. John Properties, Inc. Bill Holzman, Vice President, Retail Leasing for St. John Properties represented the landlord in this transaction.
The origins of Cypriana can be traced back to a small food cart stationed on the sidewalks of Baltimore City in 1990, when Founder and Owner Vassos Yiannouris and his wife Maria began offering meals based on the recipes perfected in Cyprus, Greece by his mother and grandmother. “Local residents would go out of their way to become invited guests at our homes to eat the glorious meals,” Yiannouris explained. Finding success and loyal customers, Yiannouris next established a site in a downtown food court and subsequently operated Cypriana Café at the corner of Baltimore and Light Streets. The concept also served food within a space at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center before opening a full-service sit-down restaurant on 39th Street near Johns Hopkins University in 2017.
“Our mission, and the primary reason we have built such a strong following, is our commitment to creating ultra-authentic, homemade Mediterranean food using only the freshest ingredients with absolutely no preservatives or sugar,” Yiannouris said. “We feel so strongly about serving clean food that you cannot even find a bottle of ketchup on our premises. Nearly every food item is created on-site, including falafel and hummus, which is made from scratch using fresh chickpeas, rather than those from a can. Our pita bread is created, stretched, and freshly-baked in our kitchen and served warm, and these little differences are noticed and appreciated by our customers. You simply cannot be authentic if you do not use pure ingredients.”
Yiannouris explains that the Cypriana menu has evolved over the years and is influenced by several historical events that shaped Europe. Recipes are borrowed from the food tastes of the medieval-era French Lusignan monarchs of Cyprus that led to the development of a refined Cypriot cuisine that fuses French, Middle Eastern and Byzantine cooking styles and ingredients. The Lusignan kings imported cooks from Syria to work in their royal kitchens. Recipes are also taken from the Armenians, who moved in the early 1990s while escaping from genocide.
Yiannouris’ wife Maria Kaimakis serves as executive chef of Cypriana, and her training includes spending time “working with the old women in Chios,” followed by five years of tutelage from a French-trained chef. She made multiple trips to Cyprus to perfect the family recipes that go back decades. “Maria is extremely passionate about preserving recipes that have been passed down through generations of families, and creating dishes that replicate the intended flavor, color and consistency that were originally created. Cypriana specializes in Cypriot cuisine, but we are not the typical Greek restaurant.”
Yiannouris says customers most frequently praise the octopus, hummus, and salad dishes, as well as the slow-cooked vegetables served with freshly-baked pita bread. “Due to our French cuisine background, we also have the most amazing Bechemel sauce,” Yiannouris added.
Based on the urging of the restaurant’s many guests that visit the Baltimore City location from Ellicott City, Columbia, and other points south, the Cypriana team began the process of identifying possible new locations. “We have been familiar with Maple Lawn for many years, so when an opportunity presented itself, we did not hesitate. The upscale community has everything we were looking for including dedicated customers from the on-site residential neighborhoods and commercial office buildings. With several fine dining restaurants successfully operating in the community, people are accustomed to having a sit-down experience at Maple Lawn. It is also strategically located to draw customers from a large radius.”
Maple Lawn, which contains more than one million square feet of commercial office, flex/R&D and retail space, is located at the intersection of MD Route 29 and MD Route 216 in Fulton, Maryland. The business community is located approximately three miles from Interstate 95, 20 miles from Baltimore-Washington International Airport, 22 miles from Baltimore and 30 miles from Washington, D.C.
“Cypriana is a highly-regarded restaurant that perfectly aligns with the ‘new urban’ mixed-use atmosphere established in Maple Lawn by Greenebaum Enterprises,” stated Bill Holzman of St. John Properties. “Adding another destination-style restaurant to the tenant mix furthers our goal of providing first-class dining amenities to those working in or visiting the commercial district, as well as residents in the neighboring communities.”
“Vassos and Maria are uniquely talented and take immense pride in their food offerings and environment. Cypriana will immediately become a restaurant destination that will draw consumers from the Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia areas,” stated Michael Greenebaum, President of Greenebaum Enterprises.
Approximately 50 full and part-time employees are expected to work from the new Cypriana at Maple Lawn. Yiannouris adds that the Baltimore City location continues to perform extremely well, and that the new restaurant will “improve synergies and enable us to achieve a higher purchasing power that will positively impact both operations.”