Zia Instagram

James Island Mexican restaurant Zia Taqueria will move across the street into the space previously occupied by Athens Restaurant & Grill, which announced its permanent closure on Dec. 10. Zia chef/owner Kevin Grant purchased the lease on the Maybank Highway property shortly after and plans to move in by early June, he told the City Paper Monday.

“I’ve been thinking about it for about two years, and I took over the lease here in December 2020. Most people are getting out of a location when they’re failing in a business, but ours is a little different because we’re moving across the street,” said Grant, adding that he’s shopping the lease on Zia’s current space in a plaza it shares with Terrace Theater, Bar George, Crust Wood Fired Pizza and Paddock & Whiskey. “Trying to get that taken care of is our number one priority.”  

Zia Taqueria will move into the space previously occupied by Athens Restaurant & Grill this summer | Athens Instagram

The new and improved Zia Taqueria will allow Grant to shift to a full service format — currently, patrons order at the bar and food is brought out to their tables. Once open, look for some new menu items — Grant hinted at skirt steak fajitas — and a renovated interior. 

“Most of the work that has to be done is in creating a new bar area,” Grant said. “We definitely have some work to get accomplished.” 

Zia Taqueria’s current location will remain “open indefinitely until further notice,” said Grant, adding that he hopes to switch to the new location within two weeks of its completion to avoid closing for an extended period of time.