Khalid Sarsour says he has made his dream come true.
The Evans man, who once worked in his parent's restaurant in Miami, recently opened Khalid's Cafe Mediterranean Cuisine, a Middle Eastern restaurant, on Washington Road near Kroger in Evans.
It is one of several new business arrivals in Columbia County.
"This is my first adventure with a restaurant," he said. "It's my dream to open this restaurant, and finally I made it."
The menu features traditional Middle Eastern fair including lamb kabobs, baba ganoush (roasted eggplant), falafels, hummus, fresh salads and pastries. Sarsour said his restaurant is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner and can accommodate large private parties.
Two restaurant chains, Atlanta-based Moe's Southwest Grill and Maryville, Tenn.-based Ruby Tuesday recently announced new locations in the Mullins Crossing shopping center on Washington Road in Evans.
Steven Taylor, the holder of Moe's franchises in Atlanta, Aiken and Columbia, said he will open a Moe's in Evans near the end of July.
Moe's features a wide variety of burritos, tacos, quesadillas, salads and fajitas, with some made to order.
Taylor acquired the existing Moe's in Aiken and had a grand opening there Wednesday after a $120,000 remodeling. He said he hopes to open two other restaurants in the Augusta area.
Andrew Becks, a spokesman for Ruby Tuesday, said construction on its new Evans restaurant should be complete in August. A grand opening is scheduled for Sept. 6.
Becks said the new location will employ about 80 full- and part-time employees. The new eatery will not have any impact on the chain's Bobby Jones Expressway restaurant, which is only a few miles to the east.
"We look at many things when deciding where to locate a restaurant," he said. "We look at proximity to other restaurants. We don't want to put them so close together that they will cannibalize each other's sales."
Becks said the new location shows potential because of its position on a major highway and because of Columbia County's rapid population growth and average household income.
Also celebrating recent grand openings are Rue 21, a women's clothing store, and Hibbett Sports in Mullins Crossing.
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