The restaurant, which serves up Persian, Greek and Mediterranean cuisine, has now added a variety of new gourmet dishes, and is looking to eventually expand the company to new heights.
“We cook for you like we cook for our family,” said Sam Roostaie, one of the founders, and owner.
Celebrating its 11-year anniversary this November, the company was founded in 2000 by Sam Roostaie and Kobra Dadfar, who, originally from Tehran, Iran, relocated to Minnesota in 1970 to further their education. After coming to town to visit a friend during Christmas time that year, the duo immediately became attached to the local culture, and the weather, of course, and relocated to Austin— which was, at the time, a promising city of change.
In addition to their life changing move, they together shared a dream of not only owning a successful business; but to also, with love for their Middle Eastern culture, and passion for home-style cooking, introduce their new home to healthy, gourmet Mediterranean food.
When asked why the name “Pars,” Roostaie commented: “We chose this name because Old Persia (Pars), covers all the foods in these areas.
As far as the battles the restaurant faced, Roostaie had to deal with a different kind of scenario than other restaurants started around the same time. Roostaie noted that the biggest obstacle they faced was locals not being familiar with the food, which meant they didn’t have the customer base to pay all their expenses. Although Roostaie and Dadfar had business management, and restaurant experience, they had to learn to introduce, and promote their restaurant.
The owners poured their hearts and souls into the restaurant, which has now become one of Austin’s best kept secrets—and steadily growing restaurants during one of the toughest of economic times in American history.
Kabob and Fesenjan are two notable additions to their new menu, and comes with 15 different choices of sides.
Kabob is a lean meat with all natural spices cooked on a skewer for perfection. The lamb shank is a dish that not everyone can master. The cooking process begins with slow cooking the lamb shank for many hours with saffron, roasted tomatoes, garlic, and dried lime—and is best when served with a choice of white saffron, or dil and fava saffron rice.
Fesenjan is a delicious stew cooked with white chicken meat, golden sautéed onions, pomegranate sauce and walnuts slow cooked for 5 hours with delicate Mediterranean spices and served with a plate of fluffy saffron rice.
The menu includes a total of around 15 different gourmet dishes, all made with from scratch—with high quality products. Foods are not fried, in order to maintain the highest level of health standard—and additives are never used. Specialty sauces, hummus, and eggplant dip (baba ganoush), along with many different soups, are made fresh daily.
The dining spot is located in the pristine, Crossroads shopping center; which is located, in North Austin, at the corner of Burnet Road and Highway 183 neighborhood—right across from Highland Lanes. The restaurant is situated between Trudy’s and Benihana.
Since the company’s grand opening, the company has steadily maintained a growing reputation for its delicious, authentic foods. The restaurant-deli is considered one of Austin’s highest rated local restaurants; and made the Chronicle’s top 10 list in 2002, and has been listed in numerous other editorials. Even in the most arduous of economic times, the restaurant has defied the current trend of restaurants closing (most recently Jaime’s Spanish Village, which has been around for the last 79 years), and has had a growing, returning customer base with the plans to likely expand, and possibly even go into upscale dining.
Pars deli’s proven, independent business model has now proven to work for over a decade. Its secret to success involves a very simple formula: the natural spirit of its culture, and great food at a great price. The restaurants average plate costs about $8.00, which translates to a cost efficient, hearty and healthy meal; which equates to happiness for the tummy, without straining the pocketbook.
The owners also offer a sense of humor through their own version of a happy hour, which is known as Pars comedy hour; which is daily between noon and 2 pm: tell a joke out loud, dance or sing—and you receive a free dessert.