With word getting out about the great food in Barrie's east end, the Shawarma Place is becoming a very busy place.
Wazhma Barez and her husband, Kashif Shahzad, opened the Shawarma Place, located at 477 Grove St. E., four months ago and have seen a steady growth in customers from Day 1 with a little credit being given to the other family store.
“Business has been good and the community has been great,” she said. “They have known us for quite a while, because my dad used to run Circle K since 2002 and I took over in 2011.
"The people in the area know us from that and we get a lot of familiar faces in here to support us," Barez added. "Now we just want to get a broader market to know about us from all over the city because anyone who tries us for the first time loves the food.”
Shawarma Place uses dishes from Barez’s native Afghanistan, her husband’s Pakistan and some Arabian dishes as well with a plan to add Indian cuisine also.
“We get quite a few people in here who have not tried dishes from our original countries and they end up loving it,” said Barez. “If somebody walks in and we just finished making something fresh we ask them to try it, that way can give us good feedback and also maybe sample something they have not before.”
Barez has a handful of people working at Shawarma Place and believes it's important to make sure customers are not waiting for their order very long, especially their lunchtime crowd from the nearby schools.
“The rush hour can be very busy, especially with the schools being on lunch,” said Barez. “At lunchtime, this place is full of people and we like to make sure they get their food quick because they have to get to school or wherever they are going fast.
"We have many loyal customers because of that, I think.”
A few dishes that are well-liked are the falafel, which is made fresh on the spot, as well as the butter chicken, chicken curry and kabobs.
“The kabobs are very popular and we are thinking about bringing in barbecue on the weekends, but having a full Indian menu throughout the week,” said Barez. “But we know many people love the shawarma and we are glad they do.”