How does a married couple born in the Mediterranean establish a popular restaurant in Marianna with 5-star ratings on Trip Advisor, Yelp and Facebook?
Sami and Nadya Almaswari, co-owners of Mashawy, have taken customer service to a new level.
“We try to provide customers with the full Mediterranean experience, from the food, to the environment, to the décor, to the music and to the service,” explained Sami.
Their business plan has been successful with more than 80 percent of their customers traveling to experience Mashawy’s Mediterranean-Greek fusion cuisine.
Sami and Nadya knew each other as children. As a young adult, Sami traveled to Canada to compete in Taekwondo. He later signed a contract in Michigan working with Taekwondo.
Sami, an accountant and business man, went back for Nadya, who he married before entering into some American business ventures.
“It was the best thing I ever did,” Sami conveyed with a smile.
In 2004, Sami began studying traffic numbers along I-10 and purchased a Petro station in Sneads. He brought in a Broaster Chicken restaurant chain out of Wisconsin and set it up inside the gas station. In 2009, the station was converted to Shell and he sold it. The couple went onto convert six delicatessens in the New York City area to Broaster Chicken restaurants. Sami and Nadya decided to take Broaster Chicken overseas and opened 39 restaurants for investors to purchase. They created the business plans, layouts and helped the investors get started. However, this was keeping the couple apart too much, so in 2015, he retired. After 18 months, the couple decided to open a new restaurant, at 3297 Caverns Road, focusing on homemade Mediterranean cuisine.
“We use better than organic foods, only grass-fed and fresh products,” stated Sami. He added, “Our customers are guests in our home.”
“Our customers arrive first as guests and leave as friends, and when they return, they are our family,” Sami clarified.
The couple just introduced their new burger menu, which features a seven-pound burger. For those who are able to eat the burger in its entirety, their meal is free, plus they receive a t-shirt and their name is added to the hall of fame. The restaurant often has live music on Friday and Saturday nights, and hosts events upon request.
Shop locally, support Marianna businesses and visit Mashawy, Tuesday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, visit www.mashawygrills.com or call 850-526-1578. Visit the City of Marianna’s website at http://www.mariannafl.city/335/New-Businesses-and-Other-Community-News to learn more about new businesses.
Kay Dennis, MBA, MPA, A.I.C.P., is the director of Municipal Development for the City of Marianna.