It’s a cliché to say that the best food comes from hole-in-the-wall places, but it’s often true. Maybe it’s because some people believe in the food so much, they think it will transcend the surroundings.
Located in the shadow of the Central Terminal on the East Side of Buffalo, Alibaba Kebab is one of those hole-in-the-wall places. It’s been so successful, a second location recently opened on Military Road in Kenmore, and there are plans for an entire local chain to serve the restaurant’s signature Indian-Mediterranean fusion menu.
There’s a good chance that you or someone you know has gotten amazing food from Alibaba Kebab and never set foot in the place. According to local restaurant consultant Chris DelPrince, who’s currently working with the restaurant, Alibaba Kebab does an absolute ton of business through food delivery apps.
“DoorDash told me AliBaba Kebab is the No.1 takeout business in Western New York,” DelPrince says. “I work with a ton of restaurants in town, and the numbers that he does out of that first store is incredible.”
Delivery apps like DoorDash help people try restaurants that might be out of the way for them. Let’s be real: Some people are skittish about going over to the East Side. Delivery apps let them support businesses in this part of town, but in a way that makes them feel comfortable. For Alibaba Kebab, a lot of people got hooked on that first vote of support. And now, word of mouth has made the restaurant one of the most popular for delivery.
“It’s one thing for people to be able to try something new through DoorDash. But when people keep ordering over and over again, it’s more about the quality of the restaurant than the convenience of DoorDash,” DelPrince says.
The volcanic heat of a tandoori oven features prominently across the entire menu. Some of the most popular dishes are the tandoori chicken, fish or shrimp over rice. There are also a few popular Indian curries like chicken tikka masala, chana masala and butter chicken. The restaurant also trains its tandoor on chicken wings, to delicious effect. If you’re more of a fan of Mediterranean food, the menu also feature gyro wraps and falafel.
The food is so popular that owner Anand Kattu is planning a chain of locations. The first step was to create a commercial kitchen near the original East Side location. This allowed Kattu to take the next step and open a second location at the former Kenmore Village Restaurant on Military Road. The new location will serve the same food that’s won over coutless fans across Western New York.
Maybe the biggest fan is Kattu’s consultant, Chris DelPrince. The two men are working hard together, and DelPrince says the expansion is currently full speed ahead.
“I had been eating there for years and his food is just tremendous,” DelPrince says. “He came to me to scale his restaurant into a franchise chain. He’s already got a waiting list of people looking to buy in.”
Hours at time of publishing (Subject to change): Monday to Saturday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., Sunday CLOSED
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