The lamps at Aladdin might not contain genies, but the restaurant’s owners sure know how to work some magic.
Over the past year, Monzur K. Shafi (Eleem), Musharaff Chowdhury (Lito) and Niaz Khan have been working to expand the Conant Ave. restaurant they opened in 2000. And despite the fact that they did not receive any funding or grants, they were still able to secure the money to complete the project.
The result of their hard work is a newly renovated formal dining room and beautiful outdoor seating area, which is complete with a flowing fountain. And while the original seating area still exists, the additional space allows for another 100 or so people to enjoy the restaurant’s authentic Bangladeshi cuisine.
The new seating area also adds a new element to the eatery. Though you can still get a quick meal of your favorite dish served on paper plates with plastic forks in the café, the new section has a decidedly more upscale feel to it. Featuring china, glass and silverware, the formal dining room makes Aladdin the perfect place for either a fast snack or a laid-back meal.
Although the restaurant will still offer the same great foods that have made it a Hamtramck staple, the prices will be slightly higher in the newly renovated wing. The increase isn’t much – the lunch buffet now costs just a dollar more at 7.99 – but once you sit down in the freshly painted and immaculately clean space you’ll agree the extra cost is well worth it.
With all of the extra room, Shafi hopes to also expand his clientele. Hamtramck is known as a very diverse city, and Shafi would like to see that reflected by his customers. He says that food can help people learn a lot about others, and that it can ultimately bring them together.
“If you don’t know anything about the food people eat, you’re missing out on a lot of what makes them who they are,” he says. “Food can help blend people with other races and build relationships.”
Aladdin Sweets & Café is located at 11945 Conant Ave. and is open from 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Delivery is free for meals over $20 and orders can be placed by calling 313-891-8050.