MARIANNA, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) — Amidst Marianna, Mediterranean cuisine might not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, there is one restaurant serving authentic Mediterranean cuisine in Jackson County.
Husband and wife, Sami and Nadya Almaswari, have been cooking something different at their restaurant “Mashawy Grill” for six years.
“We are a fusion of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Yemeni cuisine,” Sami said.
Everything from baba ganoush, hummus to their signature lamb chop plate.
“The food is amazing, the service. Didn’t find anything I didn’t like here,” one customer said.
Making great food can be hard work, but it’s easier when you’re with the ones you love.
“My wife at the back, she’s the cook, I help her too, I manage the front, she manages the back and our son comes to help us,” Sami said.
The Almaswari family are originally from Yemen and enjoy bringing their culture to the Marianna region.
“It’s the passion I believe, we cook what we cook at home, present it in a nice way and people love it,” Sami said.
But their food company is a classic recipe for the American Dream. Passion and hard work in equal parts.
“In 1997 I went to Canada to play in the world taekwondo championship, I was a fighter,” Sami said.
Sami moved from Yemen to Canada in the late 90s to compete in taekwondo. The sport eventually sent him back to Michigan, where he decided to hit his own ticket to success.
“If you want to make the money work for yourself. So I went online and looked for gas stations for sale and ended up in Sneads, Florida.
Sami then became a franchisee for Broaster’s Chicken with several restaurants around the world. After several years and wanting to spend more time with the family, he retired and then went into business with the family.
“There are a lot of opportunities here. Go to school, work hard, build good credit, be honest and the sky is the limit. I like this country.”
Now he has a love for his new hometown of Marianna.
“We have good people here, people are nice,” Sami said. “The first time the guest they leave as friends, the second time they become family.”
But the thing with families, as the saying goes, happy wife, happy life.
“We will continue to be here until she tells me she is tired.”
Mashawy Grill is open 5 days a week, closed Sunday and Monday. It is located at 3297 Caverns Rd, Marianna, FL 32446.
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