Ahmed Quraja likes to be on the move, which is probably a good thing for the operator of two food trucks.
Quraja, formerly of Lavash Cafe and Mezze Mediterranean Cuisine, is the owner of two Zaki Mediterranean Grill trucks, the most recent one hitting the streets earlier this year.
“I have a restaurant – on wheels,” he said. “I like to move around. I want to move around a lot.”
The Palestinian-born entrepreneur picked up cooking shortly after moving to the United States in 2006.
The food at Zaki, meaning “delicious” in Arabic, is similar to other Mediterranean restaurants: chicken kebabs, gyros, bowls, sandwiches and appetizers, such as falafel, baba ganoush, hummus, grape leaves and tzatziki.
All entrees cost $10 or less and appetizers cost $5 each.
Freshness is important at Zaki because at the end of each day, all the leftovers are tossed.
“It costs money, but I’m happy to be fresh every day,” Quraja said.
Zaki, which was founded three years ago, also serves a yellow basmati rice with vegetables.
Quraja, known for his friendly style, recruited Armaanii Howard from Mezze to join him in this venture.
“The people love him,” Howard said. “The people love his food – it speaks for itself.”
Quraja’s plan was to open a small restaurant, but raising the capital was difficult. While searching on eBay, he found a truck in Georgia.
He purchased the truck and spent a few months equipping it. He added the second truck this past winter.
As for a brick-and-mortar location, “I’m thinking about a restaurant, but I want to do a small place,” he said.
To find locations of the trucks, visit streetfoodfinder.com/ZakiGrill or call 614-377-1274.
Jony’s Sushi hasn’t opened in German Village, but there is a way to sample its fare.
South Village Grille, 197 Thurman Ave., will offer limited selections of sashimi, nigiri, rolls and other items from Jony’s, which is taking over the former theDogWorks/Cats2 space at 195 Thurman Ave.
Jony Ventura, owner of Jony’s Sushi, said he doesn’t have an opening date planned, but the carryout-only spot will offer walk-in, call-ahead and online ordering and third-party delivery.
The Pancake House and Gelatolicious will replace Wholly Joe’s Chicago Eatery at 1182 E. Powell Road, Lewis Center.
Both independent concepts are expected to open in early November.
Robert and Janell Rando, who operate the Pancake House at 129 W. Schrock Road in Westerville, own the businesses. Gelato only will be served at the Lewis Center location.
Breakfast foods, sandwiches, burgers, chili and salads are on the Pancake House menu.
But the restaurant’s name reflects the main focus.
Among the signature options are cinnamon roll pancakes, churro pancakes (deep-fried and topped with powdered sugar, cinnamon and a tres leches drizzle) and cornmeal pancakes. Another specialty is house-made chorizo, featured in the chorizo skillet served with homemade salsa, Janell Rando said.
Omelets are made from three fresh-cracked eggs, she said.
Daily lunch specials include meatloaf and chicken and noodles.
The plan is to be open early morning through lunch daily, she said.
The Randos opened their first Pancake House in 2009.