By Ian Perrotta
What is one of the best ways to pay someone a compliment? If you don’t know, check out Amar Pizza – Hamtramck’s newest eatery – to find out.
“One of the best ways to pay someone a compliment is to tell them what’s yours is theirs,” says Ashraf Ahmed, who co-owns the restaurant with three of his brothers. “That’s how we want our customers to feel.”
If the restaurant’s name and slogan are any indication, then it’s on the right track. “Amar” means “my” in Bangladeshi, which means the slogan translates to “My pizza is your pizza.” Sounds like something we can all agree on, doesn’t it?
Amar Pizza is the brainchild of the Ahmed brothers, who originally came with their family to Hamtramck from New Jersey back in the early 1990s. The family was attracted to the city because of its diverse ethnic population, which both exposed them to new cultures and allowed them to feel more at home among the growing Bangladeshi population.
The brothers grew up here and attended Dickenson West, Koscuiszko Middle School and Hamtramck High. Now, years after graduating and moving on to various different things, they have teamed-up to work together.
“There are other cities in Michigan, but what brought us here were our close ties to the area,” says Ahmed. “This is definitely a unique city, and I can’t think of any better place than Hamtramck.”
For the past eight months, the brothers have been working to open up shop. Basing their success on the principles of location, service and product, Ahmed feels they have a winner on their hands. The Ahmeds have over 40 years of restaurant experience between the four of them, with eldest brother Badrul having over 15 years of experience in the pizza industry.
“We’ve taken everything that works from all the chain restaurants,” said Ahmed, “and we eliminated the things that didn’t.”
Some of those things that work include using quality ingredients and maintaining focus with the menu. Amar Pizza strives to use only the freshest available ingredients and tries to purchase its supplies in Hamtramck, keeping their money in the local economy. And by keeping the menu small – focusing primarily on pizza – the restaurant hopes to attract a loyal following of people who want a high-quality pizza at a low-cost price.
“When you think pizza in Hamtramck, we want you to think of Amar Pizza,” says Ahmed.
Of the items on the menu, so far one of the best-sellers has been the Spice Pizza, one of several specialty pizzas. A fusion of western-style pizza and the eastern tastes of Bangladesh, this pie can be seasoned to taste, satisfying everyone from the pickiest to the most daring of eaters. The other specialty pizzas each have their own unique blend of sauce, giving each one its own nuanced taste.
“We’re not your typical pizza place,” says Ahmed. “We’re just like Hamtramck – a fusion of cultures.”
Check out Amar Pizza for yourself at 11608 Conant at Casmere, or on the web at www.amarpizza.com. Business hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. The menu is 100 percent Halal and delivery is free for orders over $10. You can reach Amar by calling (313) 366-0980.