DEARBORN/DEARBORN HEIGHTS — Arab American entrepreneurs are offering new and exciting options for residents who are looking to dine out or order take out in the nearby area. Below are three locations that have recently opened or are under new ownership (Lava Java). Each has created a positive buzz and strong word-of-mouth, hoping to become permanent fixtures in the community.
22055 Michigan Ave, Dearborn
Yogurtown just opened its doors last week on Michigan Ave., between Mason and Monroe St. and it has already created a splash around town. The self-serve yogurt place is owned by Mikey Nasser and his wife Celia Nasser, former Dearborn residents who moved back here from Arizona looking to make waves in the yogurt business.
What sets Yogurtown apart from its competition is that it’s a self-serve location, a business model that has taken off greatly on the west coast but has yet to be introduced in this area. Yogurtown allows customers to chose from 10 popular flavors of yogurt, including chocolate, vanilla, cheesecake, cookies and creme, mixed berry and peanut butter. They are then able to select from a variety of 50-60 toppings that includes Oreo cookies, Twix, Snickers, M & M’s and fresh fruits such as cherries, kiwi, mangoes and strawberry. Customers can even enjoy cereal toppings such as Coco Puffs and Fruity Pebbles.
While eating their yogurt customers can also relax in the lounge area which includes large space for seating, four TV’s, and a Wi-Fi connection. To help kick off the opening of the business, a DJ was also playing music inside the location earlier this week. The owners hope to have a DJ play at the location at least once a week in hopes to target both families and a young adult crowd.
Reception has so far been great, with customers already returning for more. The Nasser’s hope they can expand the shop to include outside seating in the Spring, and are preparing to expand the parking lot. If the business is a success, they are aiming to turn it into a franchise and open more locations in the area.
Customers can stop by the place on Sunday-Thursdays from 11 a.m.-10 p.m., and Friday-Saturday from 11 a.m.-Midnight. The Nasser’s say on most nights they’ve had to stay opened after closing because of long lines. They are also running a 10 percent discount promotion toward customers who pick up business cards at the location. A customer loyalty program is also in the works that will allow customers to rack up points after each visit. For more information on Yogurtown, text them at 75309 or visit their website at www.myyogurtown.com.
26505 Ford Rd, Dearborn Heights
Tel.: 313. 914.4940
Over the course of the last two months, Lava Java has received a revamp with new owners Angela Jaafar and Abbas Khalil taking over from the previous owners and igniting new energy into the location. The new owners hope patrons from and around the Dearborn Heights area can enjoy a family friendly atmosphere that includes food, drinks, desserts, hookah and entertainment.
Still available at the location are old customer favorites on the menu that includes the Lava Burger, Mediterranean dishes, wraps, salads, pizza and a variety of appetizers. Added into the mix is a fresh sushi menu authentically prepared by Japanese chefs, which are reasonably priced and already a customer favorite. Both a lunch menu and a dinner menu are now also available for customers to come dine at all times of the day.
The seating at the venue has also been reworked to include a variety of atmospheres. Parties can sit in the more low key Mediterranean seating area, or larger parties can sit in the brighter Lava Lounge section of the restaurant. Also available are comfortable sofa’s, convenient for customers who want to watch sporting events or special events on TV. The venue now includes 10 Hi-Def Plasma TV’s for customers to enjoy good entertainment.
The upgrades don’t end there, as the owners are preparing for even more additions in the near future. Customers will soon be able to enjoy a variety of flavored latte and coffee selections, fruits and ashta, as well more variety on Mediterranean appetizers and specialty mezza dishes. A name change for the venue is also in the works, with an announcement coming shortly. The owners hope to have a grand opening celebration party within the next month or two.
Reception at the venue has so far been positive, with the owners encouraging larger parties to call ahead of time to reserve seating. The restaurant is open Sunday-Thursday from 11 a.m.-1 a.m. and on the weekends from 11 a.m.-2 a.m. For more information on the restaurant, visit their Facebook page at Lava Java West.
27344 Ford Rd. Dearborn Heights
With barely any halal pizza places in Dearborn Heights, residents will be pleased to learn that Anna’s Pizza, which opened it’s doors on January 1st, offers an all halal menu for those who are looking for a close and reliable option.
Owned by Rabih Hammoud, a teacher at MIAT Institute of Technology in Canton and a former candidate of Dearborn’s City Council, Anna’s Pizza offers authentic family recipes made from scratch. Hammoud and his family are no strangers to pizza places, as they’ve had over 20 years of experience in the field. Hammoud says he was inspired to open up a pizza place after he launched a successful deli at MIAT in Canton.
Anna’s Pizza is one of few privately owned pizza places in the area that carries a 24-inch round pizza that can cater to larger parties. Pizza’s of that size are usually only found at dine in restaurants or larger pizza chains. The restaurant also offers deep dish style pizza, adding variety not usually found at other independently owned pizza places. Also on their menu are a variety of subs, as well as chicken wings, salads, breadsticks, cheesesticks and cinnamon sticks for dessert.
The restaurant also includes a dining area for approximately 20-25 people. To help spread the word of their grand opening, the restaurant is currently offering a large pizza special for just $4.99. Hammoud says through good service and quality food, he hopes the restaurant will be around long enough to eventually expand it into a franchise. Their central location in Dearborn Heights also allows them to deliver pizza to Dearborn, Garden City, Inkster and Westland.
Hammoud says since opening his doors, the restaurant has been getting rave reviews form customers. He says he is very humbled for the support he has been receiving from friends, family and the community and hopes his hard work will pay off in the near future. The restaurant is open Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m., and Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m.-2.a.m.