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Z-Burger owner says new joint corners the fast-casual burger market in Alexandria’s West End

Z-Burger at 684 S. Pickett Street in the Pickett Street Plaza shopping Center (staff photo by James Cullum)

Z-Burger recently opened on the corner of Pickett Street Plaza, and its owner says the joint also corners the fast-casual burger market in Alexandria’s West End.

Peter Tabibian says Z-Burger is performing better than expected since opening at 684 S. Pickett Street on February 11. The restaurant is visible to drivers on S. Van Dorn Street and S. Pickett Street, but it’s more than just traffic

“We’re really killing it with DoorDash and Uber Eats,” Tabibian told ALXnow. “We can’t keep up with it, and sometimes we just shut it off. I love it. I think it is a very good location. It’s in a corner and based on my experience and all the restaurants I’ve opened, the corner locations always do very well.”

There are nine Z-Burgers scattered throughout D.C., Maryland and Virginia. This is the first location in Alexandria and another is planned to open within a month at 509 23rd Street in Arlington, Tabibian said.

The burger chain features hamburgers, hotdogs, Philly cheesesteak subs, chicken sandwiches and 75 hand-spun milkshakes and malts.

“The Crystal City (Arlington) location is going to cater to the hotels in the area, the nightlife and bars,” he said. “That location will be open late until 3 a.m. on weekends.”

Tabibian also owns Maman Joon Kitchen in McLean and a number of My Own Pizza locations, the newest of which opened two days ago in Tysons Corner Center.

“Because of covid, I think this is the best time to open a business,” Tabibian said. ” People can name prices for their rents. If you have a good concept and reputation in the marketplace, landlords will work with you.”

The S. Pickett Street Z-Burger is near McDonald’s (505 S. Van Dorn Street) and a Wendy’s (229 S. Van Dorn Street), but has no nearby competition in the fast-casual burger market, Tabibian said.

“There’s no Five Guys of Shake Shacks around that area,” he said. “I love locations like this because we’re dealing with a lot of blue collar workers, hungry people, folks going to Home Depot, and it’s easy access. Easy in, easy out.”

A native of Iran, Tabibian got his first job at Burger King when he was 14 years old, and worked for 12 years as a general manager of a Jerry’s Subs & Pizza in Capitol Heights, Maryland, before branching out on his own.

Tabibian also says there’s no official expansion plan for his restaurants.

“The plan is giving customers good food and providing  good service, doing one restaurant at a time and choosing good locations,” he said.

Z-Burger at 684 S. Pickett Street is open every day from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., except Saturday when it’s open until 11 p.m.