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Al-Amir, 1734 Main Street: April 2019 (Moving)   3 comments

Posted at 11:19 pm in closing

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Al-Amir is on the move again. They have had locations on Devine Street (twice), South Main, Saint Andrews Road, Sparkleberry Crossing and Sandhill.

Now they have left the old Elite Epicurean location at 1734 Main Street, and are relocating north to the old Taste Of China Hut at 2431 Main Street.

The State has two relevant articles. The first mentions the challenges of running a restaurant at that location:

"At night, the lighting here is bad and there are homeless people, and people doing drugs (along Laurel St.)," he said.

It feels unsafe, but he hears that Columbia Police are putting a substation in the former United Way location at 1800 Main St.

"After 18 years (in the business overall, Al-Amir has been on Main St. since 2014) and pouring every penny we have into the place, we've had to maneuver to keep the restaurant," he said. "We have loyal customers ... there just isn't enough to sustain the business."

To draw a bigger lunch crowd, they added some Southern specialties, but I have to think given they can't season with pork, that would be a pretty limited endevour.

The second article continues the story, with its outcome: the move down the street.

I like Al-Amir, but for me the biggest issue with this location was parking. The old Taste Of China Hut does have its own parking lot, so hopefully that will be better. I also wish that it was easier to get what I want sometimes. The way the menu is set up makes it difficult to put together my favorites.

I'm not sure when the new location will be ready. It looked very much still in progress when I drove by a few weeks ago.

(Hat tip to commenter Mr_hat)

Written by ted on May 17th, 2019

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Zoe's Kitchen, 1320 Main Street Suite 150: 6 August 2018   2 comments

Posted at 10:40 pm in closing

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Well, I'm not sure what is going on here. The sign is extremely uninformative, and there is no sign of work being done inside or out. I hit the Forest Acres' Zoe's from time to time for the Greek salad, but have never visited this location.

UPDATE 31 August 2018 -- Removed the "temporary" from the post title based on the comments.

UPDATE 31 August 2018 -- The State reports it as a restroom issue (in that the store had none) though parts of the reporting contradict that..

Written by ted on August 14th, 2018

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Elie's Mediterranean Cuisine, 1058 Saint Andrews Road: Spring 2016   8 comments

Posted at 12:56 am in closing

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It's a little unclear exactly when Elie's closed. The offical announcement on their Facebook is 12 June 2016, but comments suggest the place had been closed for some time by then.

I wanted to like this place, in an interesting little converted house on Saint Andrews Road, and in the event stopped by twice some years ago. Both times they were out of what I ordered, and I never got around to seeing if third time was the charm.

The signs announce that a hair salon is coming.

Written by ted on July 12th, 2016

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Al-Amir, 2930 Devine Street: 23 December 2007 (name change Sept 2012)   14 comments

Posted at 8:38 pm in closing

To my mind, Al-Amir was the best Middle Eastern restaurant in Columbia. My favorites were the falaffel with fresh tabouli salad and the fresh seeded Damascus bread hot from the brick oven. The inside dining area was distinctive with its wraparound bench seating, strewn with pillows. My four year old neice loved how she could walk all the way around the table. It was like a little play-area with dining for her.

In mid-December, I noticed a banner outside noting that the restaurant would be closing on 23 Dec. I don't know what happened as they always seemed to be doing a good business to me. Perhaps they were over-extended. They had opened a satellite site on Clemson Road a few years back which didn't last long, and had recently (I believe) opened a location on St. Andrews Road. That location will continue. If I had to speculate, I would guess that the site rent is lower there.

The Mediterranean Tea Room remains an option for Middle Eastern food on Devine Street, but I find its hours to be really odd.

UPDATE 3 July 2008:

The new restaurant in the Al-Amir space, Saffron is open and has been for some weeks now. The Free Times is ambivalent.

UPDATE 12 April 2010: Added full street address to post title.

UPDATE 19 September 2011 -- Well, after the failure of Tabouli (which followed Saffron), Al-Amir is coming back. Did not see that one coming! Hat tip to my sister:

UPDATE 23 October 2012: Well, it is getting kind of complicated keeping track of the history of this building. First it was Al-Amir, then that closed (which was when I first made this post, the first ever closing on Columbia Closings!), then it was Saffron, then it was Tabouli, then it was Al-Amir again, and *now* it is Arabesque Mediterranean Cusine.

In this case, I think it is simply a name change. The phone number remains the same, as does the staff (who are still stumbling over the new name). I suspect this latest sobriquet can be explained by the yellow ABL Notice in the window. It's always been pretty clear that the Al-Amir restaurants would not serve alcohol.

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Written by ted on December 30th, 2007

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