By Del Cromartie on November 16, 2022
Since October 2019, Ahmad and his team have been providing Louisville and Southern Indiana with authentic Mediterranean cuisine. In only three years, The Charcoal Restaurant has climbed the ranks to number two on Yelp’s Louisville and Southern Indiana’s Top Ten Places to Eat List. Courier Journal highlighted them as a ‘Must try’ on Hurstbourne Parkway. Along with providing delicious food, Ahmad is constantly giving back to his community.
“What makes us different is our attention to detail. We truly care about both the authenticity and the quality of the food we serve. We don’t take short cuts when it comes to preparing quality food and taking care of our customers, and we hope that’s reflected in the Charcoal experience.”
Ahmad is the owner and founder of The Charcoal Restaurant. He is a Palestinian native who moved to Louisville almost 20 years ago. He brought with him his passion to share the flavors of his home and the desire to stay true to his roots. This commitment to his roots is how Ahmad provides authentic Mediterranean charcoal chicken, along with a variety of other dishes. Ahmad shared, “Growing up in Palestine, there was a restaurant down the street from where I grew up that served charcoal chicken just like this, over the coals. I had not seen anything like this in Louisville. I set out to bring my dream to life.”
The Charcoal Restaurant has an astonishing 4.9-star rating with over 500 Google reviews! I asked what they were doing to get all these reviews. His reply was, “Nothing other than serving good food. If we do it the right way, everything will follow.”
Since moving to Louisville, Ahmad has become a huge Louisville Cardinals fan. Local athletes like Russ Smith make sure to stop in for an occasional shawarma plate!
Ahmad is what we like to call a Local Biz Hero, a self-made entrepreneur who brings true value to his community. High standards of professionalism and the strong work ethic of small business owners like Ahmad are the infrastructure of Louisville’s economy.
When Mayfield, Kentucky was ravaged by tornadoes in late 2021, The Charcoal Restaurant donated one dollar from every single meal sold to help victims of the local community with disaster relief. Ahmad has also supported local youth sports teams, such as the Louisville Jockeys baseball organization, with his restaurant serving as a sponsor throughout their season. He has shown through his actions that he truly cares about his local community and anyone in need.
What’s the best thing you like about Louisville?
“The people. The reason we are where we are is because of them. Louisville is a foodie city. If they do not like something, they will let you know. If they do like something, they will also let you know. Louisvillians care enough about their food to voice their feedback and we care enough about Louisvillians to listen intently and deliver what the people want.”
Do you have a hobby?
“I love to play basketball in my free time and volunteer at the Muslim Community Center of Louisville. I also enjoy checking out other local restaurants in my free time.”
What is the most significant event that has ever happened to you?
“COVID-19. We really had to buckle down and establish our identity. Indoor dining was shut down for months and, as a restaurant, we had to persevere. We got much better at pushing out orders because take out was the only option for quite some time.”
What did you learn from it?
We learned how to adapt. When you have a pandemic threatening to shut your doors, you have no choice but to be resilient. We witnessed how kind-hearted the Louisville community is with their unrelenting support throughout all the pandemic-related restrictions. Louisville’s true colors really showed during such a tough time. This community is unparalleled in compassion.”
If you could share one tip with the readers who are searching for a Mediterranean restaurant, what would it be?
“I recommend eating local. Sometimes, the larger chains lose sight of real authenticity and truly getting the flavors right. Supporting your local Mediterranean restaurant, in most cases, is supporting a local family whose passion is to bring the flavors of their home to you – the same way The Charcoal Restaurant has done here in Louisville.”
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
“I want to thank my wife, Randa Aburub, for stepping up and serving as an absolute cornerstone to the restaurant. It was through her unwavering support that The Charcoal Restaurant was able to continue operating in the toughest of times, whether it meant her coming in early to help food prep or her helping out when we were short on staff. The Charcoal Restaurant owes so much of its success to her.
We additionally have exciting things planned for the Louisville community. Zu Sauce has been popular enough that we are currently in the process of bottling it with a co-packer for mass distribution. Beyond that, expansion is on our horizon. Stay tuned for exciting updates.”
For those looking for authentic Mediterranean food in Louisville and Southern Indiana, The Charcoal Restaurant is an absolute must! They go above and beyond by providing professional service and are committed to the community. Call Ahmad today at 502-749-8888 or visit https://thecharcoalrestaurant.com
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