Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill opened its first location in South Florida this spring, and building on its initial success, now has plans to expand.
Franchisee Bassam Fares always dreamt of opening a restaurant that reminded him of home.
Fares had worked with various franchises, including Subway, since 1995. He then transitioned into hospital system operations until COVID-19 hit, thinking of it as an opportunity to leave and open the restaurant he wanted.
“I searched for multiple Middle Eastern restaurants that had some of my favorite foods, like shawarma and falafels, and tried every single one to find the most authentic brand,” says Fares. “Eventually, I found Naf Naf and went to Chicago to try it out. I knew right away it was the one.”
Fares signed on to open the first Naf Naf in Florida as owner and operator as early as he could. Training himself and his staff, he officially opened on May 9, 2022. Due to the great success the Pembroke Pines restaurant is experiencing, Fares is looking to “fan the flame” of growth with potential locations in Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Naples, North Miami and Orlando.
“At Naf Naf, we pride ourselves on bringing communities together through authentic food and great experiences,” says Nico Nieto, Naf Naf’s Chief Marketing Officer. “It’s part of our DNA and purpose. We are beyond excited to find partners like Bassam who share our values and passion — his story of how he was inspired to open a Naf Naf because it reminded him of home and wanted to share it with others in Florida is heartening. We couldn’t be more excited to serve the Florida community and expand there in the future.”
Located at 213 N. Hiatus Road, the Pembroke Pines restaurant operates from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Naf Naf invites guests to build their own pita sandwich or create a bowl with base choices ranging from warm grains, such as basmati rice and couscous, to salad greens or even Middle Eastern spreads like hummus and Baba Ghanoush. Protein options include the original plant-based – crispy outside and tender inside – falafel, the award-winning roasted Chicken Shawarma, Middle Eastern Steak and Crispy Chicken Schnitzel. From there, guests can add any or all of Naf’s fresh toppings, including Sumac Onions, Purple Cabbage, Middle Eastern Pickles and Chopped Tomato Cucumber Salad. Finally, finish it with any of Naf’s scratch-made signature sauces.