Chef Ryan Parrott, a well-known Oklahoma City restaurateur, joined the Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill family as operating partner for franchise group GMG Oklahoma LLC, formed in 2012 by Oklahoma City businessman and restaurateur Ed Lynn.

“Ryan has a stellar reputation in Oklahoma City as a highly successful, skilled and trend-setting chef and restaurant owner,” says Bob Bafundo, Garbanzo vice president of company and franchise operations. “His association with Garbanzo only makes the spotlight on our brand that much brighter, and his proven experience will only enhance operations that much more. We are happy to have Ryan on board.”

Although Garbanzo is a departure from Parrott’s usual full-service restaurant ventures, he says he became interested in the brand after hearing how passionate his friend Lynn is about it.

“I have known Ed for a long time, and when I heard him talk about Garbanzo, I knew I wanted to get involved,” Parrott says. “Oklahoma City is no stranger to this style of food. They like the flavors. They like that it’s healthy. And they like that it’s affordable. Plus it has a different vibe than most Mediterranean-style restaurants—it is edgier and more fun.

Parrott began his cooking career at age 15. After holding many positions within area restaurants, Parrott aided in the reconceptualization of the Mantel Wine Bar and Bistro in Bricktown, Oklahoma, in 2000. He then opened nine different concepts with the Deep Fork Group beginning in 2003. Deciding to take a career turn, Parrott partnered with two other restaurateurs to open a Mexican grill in 2008, and also began his own catering company, Seasons, and a one-table concept called Table One. Parrott later teamed up with another restaurant group to offer a unique family-dining concept with locally sourced food. He resides in Oklahoma City with his five children and is deeply involved with many charity organizations.

“My goals in Oklahoma City are to enhance guest service, increase brand awareness, and ensure food quality remains at an all-time high,” he says. “I feel my straightforward approach to cooking and focus on flavor rather than flair will fit right in at Garbanzo.”

GMG Oklahoma has the rights to develop up to 10 Garbanzo restaurants throughout the Oklahoma City area and currently has two open locations—one in Oklahoma City at 4130 Northwest Expressway and one in Edmond at 1389 E. 15th Street.

Denise Lee Yohn: QSR's Marketing Guru, News, Garbanzo