COVID-19 has closed the Persian Garden in Phoenix. Now it’s back to take away
Earlier this year, an impending rent hike forced the Persian Garden Cafe, a family staple near Phoenix College, to close permanently. Now he’s back in business – albeit in a different form.
Mahmoud Jaafari opened Persian Garden Cafe in 2001, in the building that once housed Mary Coyle Ol ‘Fashion ice cream.
As with many restaurants, business declined during the pandemic. When real estate owner Arizona Partners, a developer from Scottsdale, proposed to raise the rent every year for the next five years, Mahmoud and his wife Afsaneh walked away.
But with the help of Mahmoud’s son, Joseph Jaafari, as well as Joseph’s fiancé, Jake Hylton, the family business is reinventing itself. Now known as the Persian Garden, the family offers meals for pickup and delivery twice a month, while partnering with other local businesses and artists.
“Well, I’m kind of new and new to the family, but one thing that’s most exciting, the Jaafari family who run Persian Garden are one of the most amazing people I’ve met in my life. you feel like family, ”Hylton said.
“The best way for them to do that is to make sure you are well fed and well taken care of,” he said. “It’s extremely humbling and it feels a lot like an honor to be involved.”
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How to order takeout from Persian Garden
The Persian Garden Cafe served Middle Eastern cuisine and was popular among vegetarians, with dishes such as falafel and dolmeh, baba ghanouj and spudburger with feta cheese and cucumber yogurt on the menu.
Afsaneh Jaafari said losing the restaurant meant losing their income, but they were trying to adjust to the situation. The new take-out business isn’t making as much revenue as the restaurant, but it is content and happy to reconnect with old customers, she said.
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The take-out schedule, full food descriptions and the most recent menu are available online, where people can also place their orders.
Persian Garden has a small menu that changes every two weeks, with the option of delivery or pickup in Phoenix. A recent featured menu:
- Frozen watermelon soup ($ 8).
- Yogurt marinated chicken kebab served with Shirazi salad, grilled vegetables and white basmati rice ($ 20).
- Merza and kuku – Sliced roasted eggplant wrapped around a mixture of feta, garlic, herbs, tomatoes and onion, plus a spinach and nut patty with toppings ($ 20).
Each order comes with a free piece of art, as well as a dessert from the Haji-Baba or Caspian Food Market stores in the East Valley. Persian Garden commissioned local artists Shella Yu and Alisia Malta for the first two pieces of art, printed on stickers and postcard-sized prints, Hylton said. Each artwork will feature a paisley pattern, a pattern prevalent in Persian culture that has also been featured as the Persian Garden logo.
“For us that was a really important thing to say, how do we give back to the community? How do we involve the community?” Hylton said.
For now, the family are still exploring what Persian Garden has to offer, Hylton said. And regarding plans to open another brick-and-mortar restaurant, Afsaneh offered a “maybe”.
“Mahmoud likes to cook all the time and talk to customers,” Afsaneh said. “Maybe in the future.”
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