OLEAN — Mian Rafi is walking his new eatery with a non-public contact. During one of the first days of Rafi’s Food Hub being open, he, in my opinion, greeted clients as they walked from West State Stree ands requested a few seated clients for their thoughts on the menu. He even suddenly walked far away from an interview with the Olean Times Herald to open the door for a patron who changed into on crutches. They’re the kind of things he’s been unable to do the remaining eight months, given that a hearth destroyed his final culinary endeavor, a cell food cart.
“I missed it. I missed it because I love the eating place enterprise, love people, like to engage humans,” said Rafi, pausing a second before including, “I love hungry people.” The longtime figure inside the town’s restaurant scene and Rafi’s family patriarch this week officially opened Rafi’s Food Hub, which prides itself on serving American and Mediterranean dishes — from cheeseburgers to chicken curry — at cheap fees in a quick-informal putting.
It’s been months in the making after the former Rafi’s Food Cart stuck the fireplace again in December. The blaze left the cart, which was placed in the East State Wine and Spirits automobile parking space, a total loss and even broke a neighboring home. It’s believed to have been due to the cart’s propane tank. “After that, I just debated: Would I go with a meal truck or open a restaurant?” Rafi said Friday afternoon at Rafi’s Food Hub. “I simply was given scared from propane. I didn’t want to cope with it.”
Rafi, sixty-three, said he then discovered an area available at the previous Olean Lock and Key locksmith storefront at 1112 W. State St., adjacent to the Press Box bar, and has been getting it ready for the reason that February. The eatery officially opened on Wednesday. Like Rafi’s Food Cart before it, Rafi’s Food Hub serves similar dishes but in a miles special style than Rafi’s Children’s many restaurants at some point in the city. His son Adnan owns Mirchi Bar-N-Grill. His other two sons, Ashi and Hus, run Brothers Bistro, even as his daughter Amber Rafi-Sultan and son-in-regulation Aamir Sultan function Rafi’s Platter.
“We got a few best and clean seating, too — you’re just going to get the food in a Styrofoam box as a substitute,” Rafi stated. Rafi likes to say the entire menu — from the jumbo hotdog to the hen marsala — is $10 or less. Noting Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food can regularly be highly priced, Rafi stated he’s seeking to ensure everybody can find the money to consume at his eating place.
“Here, two people can consume for $20,” he said. “A family of four can come here and consume for $30.” Rafi’s Food Hub can even provide catering offerings. “I’ve been doing catering all my lifestyles,” Rafi said. “I’ve catered a variety of big events for about 2,000 people. I traveled through five states catering.” Rafi, a Pakistani local, arrived in the U.S. In 1981, he came to Olean in 1985. His first task changed to the Old Library Restaurant. He subsequently opened his eating place on North Barry Street, Mian Rafi’s International Cuisine, which changed in 2006.
Rafi is the self-defined “first chef to carry foreign food to Olean,” pronouncing that nobody else had served dishes like curry, souvlaki, or gyro inside the city before him. “I had to train my customers how to eat Pakistani meals,” he recalled. “We could serve Pakistani food, and they might devour it with a fork. Bread might take a seat there. Rice might take a seat there. You’re supposed to devour our food with the bread or rice.”
After Mian Rafi’s International Cuisine, Rafi returned to Pakistan, where he remarried. Huma Rafi and his wife have two daughters: Mariam, eight, and Rafia, 4. He said raising his youngest kids gives him “cause.” Despite his travels, Rafi considers Olean his hometown, noting it’s “been so correct” to him. “I appreciate from the lowest of my coronary heart Olean and the network for helping me for almost 35 years,” he stated.