Sunday, May 24, 2020

[UPDATE] Sahara Cafe to "Soft" Open Monday in Chastain Park

A new restaurant will softly open Monday and its owner is genuinely excited to get his doors open, albeit amidst a global pandemic.  Owner "Jacob" Hussein will open Sahara Cafe Mediterranean Grill at 11 AM along Roswell Road in north Buckhead.  The restaurant, which ToNeTo Atlanta exclusively reported on this past October, features popular Mediterranean dishes such as gyros, Greek chicken and braised pulled lamb, many of which are family recipes.  Sahara is also known for their Sahara Chicken with paprika, spices, lemon-ginger & garlic, and for their house-made tzatziki and avocado hummus.  
The restaurant is set up similar to other popular quick-serve concepts like Chipotle Mexican Grill and Cava, another concept that helped inspire the new Sahara, with an assembly line and plenty of customization options.  

Like the founders of Cava, who first opened cava mezze, a full-serve Mediterranean restaurant, before eventually opening the quick-serve Cava, Hussein's full service Sahara Cafe in Tallahassee, Florida is the inspiration and template on which his new, more economical concept is based.  

Born in Kuwait and raised in Toronto, Hussein grew up in restaurants but also holds a marketing degree.  Having spent basically his entire life in the restaurant world, he is very serious about hospitality and service.  Hussein refers to Union Square Hospitality Group and Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer's book Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business as his "bible" and always tries to follow its customer-focused principles in his operations.  

As Hussein tells it, the new restaurant is meant to be "Quick, simple and affordable" with "over 5 million combinations" available to ensure each customer is able to get exactly what they want.  Main menu entree prices top out at about ten bucks and there is also a kids menu of less expensive options for the "mini me" in your life.  
Given that the concept is new and feedback is valuable, Hussein is providing food (from a limited menu) free of charge to all customers Monday and Tuesday, May 25th and 26th.  Food will be offered both days starting at 11 AM until they run out.  

For those unfamiliar, the new restaurant is located in the Publix-anchored Chastain Square shopping center.  Sahara is situated between Supercuts and Swoozie's in the 1,500 square foot former Starbucks space.  Starbucks previously relocated north on Roswell to a new building erected in place of a shuttered Caribou Coffee.  (Sahara's opening keeps intact the triple "S" tenant lineup.)    

For the time being, the restaurant will be takeout only, but Hussein does have seating for when he feels the time is right to offer dine-in service.  

As some readers may recall, Mediterranean is a favorite cuisine over at ToNeTo Atlanta, and the new restaurant is literally in our backyard.  Our current favorites are Al's Cafe Agora and Aviva by Kameel, but Sahara seems poised to have a prime place in our circuit.   

Are you excited for a new Mediterranean option in Chastain Park/North Buckhead?  What is your favorite local Mediterranean eatery?  If Sahara expands locally, where would you like to see them go next?

Please share your thoughts below. 


Bookie Doodle said...

There's a perfect space that will soon open up on Peachtree (parking in back) next to Starfish, near Peachtree Hills Dr.
we would love to see you open there!

Anonymous said...

Why the "quotations" around "Jacob?"'

Anonymous said...

A literate person puts quotation marks around a name that is a nickname.

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