DEARBORN — After years of struggles with the recession and poor planning, West Dearborn is starting to attract new businesses, but one new establishment is already a familiar name to residents.
Al-Ajami West will open this weekend, bringing more than 13 years of experience in upscale Middle Eastern cuisine to the west side of the city.
Owner Diab Hamadi said he is hopeful about the prospects of downtown west Dearborn’s revitalization.
"The area is coming back," Hamadi said. "After being in business for a while, the idea to expand was there. And this is the right location. We are optimistic. This is a great opportunity."
Although Pizza Papalis closed on March 16, Famous Hamburger opened a new location in west Dearborn earlier this month.
Hamadi said the new location aims to accommodate the growth of the community.
He added that since the business was established in 2002, many customers moved to west Dearborn, Dearborn Heights and Canton.
"What I have been hearing from customers who moved is that it is hard for them to drive all the way to east Dearborn to eat here," he said. "You've got to follow your loyal guests and go after them, so we opened another location close to them."
Besides the Middle Eastern classics served at the original store, Hamadi said the Al-Ajami West menu will have an added emphasis on steaks and seafood.
The new location also will include a banquet hall that fits up to 100 people.
Al-Ajami West will feature the restaurant's signature mural, which depicts a desert caravan under a night sky and a crescent moon. Head chef Mustafa Ajami will manage the west side restaurant.
Hamadi said he hopes the West Dearborn restaurant will attract Ford employees for lunch, Henry Ford Village visitors and travelers from the John Dingell Transit Center.
Al-Ajami West is located at 21931 Michigan Ave., on the corner of Michigan and Monroe Street, in the former building of Kirnan's Steakhouse, which closed last year.
Al-Ajami does not serve alcoholic beverages.