In July 2021, restaurant owner Bashar Srouji walked into his Niagara Falls Mediterranean restaurant Ghada Have It! and found heavy rains had flooded it. He then made the painful decision to shut it down.
But after reopening at a new location in February, Srouji says the flood and closing were actually a blessing in disguise.
“Now, we’re on Military Road across from the outlet mall,” he says. “You can probably imagine how much the foot traffic alone has increased; about three or four times what we had on Saunders Settlement Road.”
The original location was located in the same building as a popular local bar – Dave’s Last Chance Saloon. While Srouji was focused on cooking Mediterranean food, he realized it was also important to take advantage of the restaurant’s location.
The resulting menu is a mash-up of Mediterranean-American classics and classic American bar food. Appetizers include falafel, baba ghannoj, pizza logs and chicken wing logs. There are pita wraps, rice bowls and Mediterranean platters. Oh, there’s also pizza, wings and fish frys on Fridays.
Some of the more unique menu items – like gyro logs and Greek nachos – are madcap mashups that reflect the restaurant’s overall vibe.
“We try to put our Mediterranean flavor into different things,” Srouji says. “We try to come up with different ways to marry the two together.”
In addition to having more seating, the new location will soon have a full bar, and Srouji is hoping to have live music events in the parking lot. If he were a pessimist, Ghada! Have It may not have reopened after the flood. But talk to Srouji for just a few minutes, and you’ll realize that pessimism just isn’t in his nature. He credits his half-glass-full attitude to a humble, but positive upbringing from his single mom, who immigrated to the United States from Nazareth, Israel.
“We were living on top of Vincenzo’s Pizza in Lewiston, with cardboard boxes for dinner tables,” he says. “We had a very humble upbringing, but (my mom) never let us feel it. We didn’t even know we were poor.”
When it came time for Srouji to launch his restaurant, Srouji took the opportunity to name it after his mom, Ghada.
“For her to see her name up on the side of the building, it’s awesome for her,” he says. “With everything she’s gone through in life, sometimes it’s hard to smile all the time. My big thing is: I just want to keep a smile on her face. In life, it’s all about the little hinges that swing big doors.”
Hours at time of publishing (Subject to change): Tuesday to Thursday 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., Sunday and Monday CLOSED
2117 Military Road Niagara Falls, NY 14304 • $$$$$
I want to share my culture with the community and honor my mother, Ghada. All the recipes are passed down from generation to generation. After all, what's ...
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