The current economic downturn can not stop people from reaching for their dreams. Kids are still going to college; families are still buying homes; and one man is fulfilling his dream of owning his own restaurant.
In July, Abraham Mirzaef leased the restaurant space that was formerly Dominic's Pizza on Adams Street and plans to transform it into a Middle Eastern fast food joint called Chateau Kabor.
"It will be the quality of a good restaurant, but in a fast food environment," said Mirzaef.
Mirzaef immigrated to the United States from Iran in 1979. While he has no professional training as a chef, he is always called upon by his friends and family to cater events.
"I enjoy cooking," he said. "I have been doing it most of my lifeâ€¦Through the years [I have been] cooking for my family and friends or different organizations that usually come to me because they are familiar with my cooking."
His plan is to us the small space to create food that encompasses all of Middle Eastern culture, not just his native Iranian cuisine.
"For this place I don't want to get too specific about just one place. Middle Eastern covers a lot of different countries. I want to keep it open and not to specific."
Chateau Kabor will join a mix of local and chain businesses at Adams and Gallivan Boulevard. Gerard's Adams Corner and Greenhills Irish Bakery across the street, Pricecutters Hair Salon to the left, Pizzitalia to the right, and the Eire Pub and a McDonalds nearby.
"The location was available," said Mirzaef. "I was searching for about five or six months in different areas. I looked in Newton, Belmont and Watertown; everywhere around pretty much."
Passersby in the village said it would be good to have another restaurant to choose from.
"It would bring more variety to the neighborhood," said Jimmy Ozias. "I will definitely eat there when it comes."
"From what I've seen there are no other Middle Eastern restaurants around there," said Mirzaef. "Mexican or a Middle Eastern restaurant, both would be good I thought. Being from Iran, I have more experience with that than Mexican."
Mr. Mirzaef had hoped to open his restaurant in September, but due to structural issues, plans for the space had to be redesigned and he has just gotten approval. The space has seating capacity for 36 people and, while Mirzaef will not have a waiting staff, he does plan to have at least a four person staff that will help prepare the food and run the register.
"It will be fast food Middle Eastern," he said. "It will consist of mostly barbeque, which will be served in wraps or with a platter with Basmati rice. The people can either sit down and eat it or get their food to go."
If all goes according to plan, he hopes to open Chateau Kabor by March. The menu will include several types of kabobs, like lamb, beef and chicken. Each kabob will be accompanied by a side of either salad, rice, potatoes or falafel.
"Traditional Middle Eastern marinations, for the lamb, are onion juice, lemon juice, olive oil, peppers and saffron," said Mirzaef. "We are also very proud of our rice because, when it's done right, comes out fluffy and nice and not sticky."
Mirzaef is no stranger to owning his own business. In the past he has run a dry cleaning store located near Fenway Park, a strip mall in Fort Lauderdale and a snack shop in a hockey rink in Natick.
"I want to be careful not to make it separate," he said, "but open to everybody so people just try it and keep an open mind."