SOUTH TAMPA — Even in a tough economy, Bahram Zamani figures, people want to go out to eat for something different. Especially if it's relatively cheap.
So Zamani took the concept of simple kabobs, added sauces and extras, and made a restaurant out of it.
He opened the Persian-Mediterranean-style Tangerine House of Kabob in November at 1118 W Kennedy Blvd. in a building he owns and next door to Rumi Oriental Rug Gallery, the rug store he opened in late 2008.
Zamani is joking — well, sort of — when saying he should have opened the restaurant before the rug store. These days there is a much greater appetite for an inexpensive lunch than an expensive hand-knotted carpet.
With the rug business as slow as it is, deciding to start another new venture wasn't easy, Zamani said. But the contractor by trade said he believes in the ongoing revitalization of Kennedy and is convinced the economy has bottomed out.
While everyone waits for things to get better, he offers sustenance in the form of a $5 lunch special.
"I banked on two things," Zamani said. "One was the economy is not going to stay like this forever. Two was this (type of restaurant) is very new (to Tampa).
"I priced my food very moderately. I have a lunch special that drives a lot of traffic. I get dinner walk-ins, too, based on that. Mainly I wanted to have a menu that was affordable and different."
Tangerine House of Kabob offers a variety of beef, chicken, lamb and seafood kabobs, some of them classified as meeting kosher/halal standards; vegetarian dishes; a children's menu; and appetizers such as stuffed grape leaves, hummus and baba ghanouj. Dinner entrees range from $9.95 to $16.95, and less expensive pub specials also are offered.
The interior was designed by Zamani's wife, Faranak, a painter and muralist who chose the colors and furnishings and created murals for the restaurant.
Hours at Tangerine House of Kabob are 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (lunch) and 5 to 9 p.m. (dinner) Monday through Friday, and 11 to 9 Saturday and Sunday. The Web site is tangerinehouseofkabob.com.
Women's boutique opens mini version inside salon
After 23 years running an upscale women's boutique in Carrollwood, Angelina Turner has decided to expand farther south.
Turner, the owner of Ahjaleah's at 14449 N Dale Mabry Highway, has opened a mini version of her boutique inside the Kennedy Salon and Spa at 220 N Howard Ave. Turner has leased about 400 square feet of the 1934 two-story house that has served as home to the salon for more than a decade. The boutique operates from a space in a parlor room near the entrance.
"It was just a perfect neat little spot for a boutique," she said.
Turner carries a modified selection of what she offers in her 1,800-square-foot Carrollwood shop, though she said she is happy to bring additional items to the new store upon request. Known for evening wear and cocktail attire, Ahjaleah's also carries business and casual attire as well as jewelry and accessories.
Turner said Ahjaleah's has built a customer base over the years with attentive customer service and merchandise that is hard to find elsewhere.
"I cater to the woman who wants to be different and have something that's a little bit different," she said. "I like to have a very warm friendly atmosphere, that's the kind of personality I am. I try to reflect that in my boutique. It's like family here."
Hours at the new Ahjaleah's are 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The store's Web site, ahjaleahsboutique.com, features the entire inventory.
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