By Kayla Tucker – Managing Editor
This month, two brothers will bring family-inspired Mediterranean cuisine to downtown Grand Rapids at the new restaurant, Gita Pita, located at the corner of Fulton and Jefferson.
Adham and Ramzy Kader lived in Jerusalem for six years as children, and then Dubai for two years. Their mother raised them cooking Mediterranean style food, and their dad owned multiple businesses, giving them an entrepreneurial mindset.
What peaked Adham’s interests was his experience at the Kent Career Technical Center (KCTC) studying culinary arts. He spent some time at Grand Rapids Community College, but found that it wasn’t the right path for him. Now, calling himself a chef, Adham, 25, is moving his business from the Cascade area to the heart of downtown.
“Just before I opened up (at the Cascade location), things between me and my previous partner didn’t work out and my brother Ramzy came and saved the day,” Adham said. “I figured he’s my brother, and if we’re partners, we’ll make it happen. And ever since, business flourished.”
Ramzy, 23, also spent some time at GRCC, but from a young age took on the responsibility of the family business, and helped to run his father’s deli, “Homerun,” in Belmont. When their family decided to move to New Orleans, the brothers made a mutual decision to stay in Grand Rapids together and become business partners.
“It was our first venture,” Adham said. “We’re still young, we’re still learning. Things are moving the way we want them to.”
As far as the menu, the Kaders said that they will be serving traditional gyros, baba ganoush, which is a roasted egg plant made in the same style as hummus, shawarma, which is described as being a marinade, and a traditional harat salad.
The only traditional items to be bought and not made will be the baklava, which will be purchased from Shatila Bakery in Detroit, and Vimto, a fruit drink in the form of a slushie.
Adham said that to be as authentic as possible, they decided to make their own bread and only buy fresh ingredients to be cooked on site.
“Everything’s literally made from scratch,” Adham said. Vegetarian and vegan options will be offered as well, and there is hopes for a gluten free menu options in the future.
Not all the details are finalized, but the Kader brothers plan on offering some kind of discount or promotion to students with college ID and hospital employees with badges. The average price for a meal combo is expected to be around $10.
“What we add, our touch, really is what makes the difference,” Adham said. “What we’re trying to do is add that touch and put it in a system where anybody can do it. That’s what we want to do in order to expand, hopefully.”
The Kaders now describe themselves as “Grand Rapids boys” and Ramzy said that opening up their own business is a “miracle.”
“At the same time, it doesn’t come hard for us,” Adham said. “It’s in our blood.”
Construction is still under way at the Gita Pita location, but the Kaders said that they play to open for business later this month, with hours beginning at 11 a.m. They are still hiring and are interested in possibly hiring culinary students to assist with cooking.
“We really do want to create that image for Palestinians all over,” Adham said. “Saying that it’s not really challenging coming to America, to a better country, where the opportunity is a million times better than where you came from. Stop being so scared. Go out and explore the world. You’ll find wonderful things.”