A Macon storefront that once housed a shoe store is being transformed into a Pakistani market that will house a restaurant, grocery store, fresh meat market and hookah lounge.
Rashid “Ricky” Humayun and Shazia Choudhary, natives of Pakistan who immigrated to the United States and become American citizens, hope to share some of their culture and food when they open the Zam Zam Market at 1560 Eisenhower Parkway during of the new year.
“Zam Zam Market is the amalgamation of a bit of different culture,” Choudhary said. “So we’re going to have Mediterranean, Indian, Pakistani food. “
The husband and wife team previously owned and operated the former Café Harika, a Mediterranean restaurant and hookah lounge, when they lived in Cordele and before moving to Central Georgia in 2011.
The couple invested a lot of money, time and energy in their new venture.
“We build everything,” Humayun said, explaining the different spaces of the 5,000 square foot building. “It was a shoe country.”
Everything ranges from a large and airy well-equipped kitchen that includes a counter and a view of the food preparation, to a separate meat room with its own fridge and freezer and a window where customers can watch the fresh sliced meat at a dining area with tables and chairs as well as raised space for traditional lounge style seating.
Certain dishes should be served, including Biryani, a dish of rice mixed with chicken or goat, and beef paya, a dish made from cow’s feet or cow’s feet. These made-to-order dishes are seasoned mild, medium or spicy.
Other dishes include karahi chicken, tandoori chicken, seekh kebab, chana masala, naan, kofta kebab with ground beef, soltani kebab, lamb shank, lamb chops, gyro and basmati rice with saffron.
Don’t forget the hummus and baba ganoush, which will also be fresh daily.
The restaurant is also expected to offer American fare and “ready-to-eat” foods, including wings, pizza, fish, burgers, gizzards and liver.
The grocery store
Now the empty shelves should be filled with Pakistani, Indian and Mediterranean spices, flour, beans, dates and the like.
Fresh and frozen products will also be available.
“It’s not a lot, but the basics that we have at home,” Humayun said.
He expects to keep fresh garlic and ginger for sale in the grocery store’s cooler.
Customers will be able to purchase lamb, beef, chicken, goat and shrimp to order or from what’s available daily in a large cooler under the window of the meat slicer room.
The idea is that customers can buy fresh meat to take home and cook for themselves, Choudhary said.
The facility will be dual licensed from the Georgia Department of Public Health for the restaurant and the Georgia Department of Agriculture for the grocery store and meat market.
A separate room is being transformed into a hookah lounge designed to resemble a hookah tent.
It was Choudhary’s idea.
Colorful fabrics will fall from the center of the ceiling to create a tent-like top. In the middle, hangs a crystal chandelier.
The walls will be lined with rugs she bought in Turkey and Egypt. Large windows will be covered with colorful curtains, and a slightly raised platform will provide guests with carpeted seating amid comfy lounge pillows.
In the future, Choudhary said that she hopes to obtain a license so that she can provide tax preparation, accounting and bookkeeping services in the market.
Humayun and Choudhary have been married for 30 years and have four children, including three grown sons and a daughter who is in high school.
The Husband and Wife Team also owns the Macon Smoke Shop next door at 1556 Eisenhower Parkway. It is a separate business with a separate customer entrance but part of the same property. Shisha pipes and tobacco are sold in this store.
One of their adult sons helps with the tobacco sales as well as the couple’s two convenience stores. Another son is a pharmacy technician and student at Mercer University, and the third son is a roofing specialist for a roofing company. Their daughter aspires to become a veterinarian.
The family has taken up residence in Lizella.
Humayun and Choudhary hope to open Zam Zam Market in January, with opening hours to be determined.