BATH BEACH – Anayat’s Halal Grill isn’t even a month old and it already has fans. The small new take-out restaurant is located on Bath Avenue between Bay 31st and Bay 32nd Streets, right next door to Masjid Al-Ansar. There are a few tables and chairs inside the eatery but they are folded up as indoor dining hasn’t reopened yet in NYC. The place is owned by a 34-year-old man who knew opening a business during a pandemic was risky, yet decided to do it anyway.
Zeeshan Khokhar was born in Mirpur, Azad Kashmir in Pakistan. He immigrated to New York in 2009 and has been living in Midwood ever since. Khokhar always worked in the food business. For the past three years, he had been working as a manager in fast food, first working in a pizzeria, and then running and opening gyro spots for his employer. He always knew though, that if an opportunity ever arose, he’d open up his own place. And he did.
In March, when the coronavirus hit, and things were forced to close down, Khokhar ended up being out of work for a while. During the time, a relative of his realized that a Chinese restaurant had shut down and thought it would be a good idea for Khokhar to buy it and start his own business. This was the opportunity Khokhar had been waiting for, and Anayat’s Halal Grill was born.
The restaurant is named after his late mother Anayat who died suddenly in 2018.
“She always pushed me to do my best and that InshaAllah I will be successful. She gave me her blessings,” he said. “With her sudden death, I chose to name my business after her.”
And he knew the place he would open would offer halal food.
“My religion is very important to me. As a Muslim who strongly believes in his religion, it’s a must that the food I provide for our fellow brothers and sisters is 100% halal,” he said. “The neighborhood has a high population of Muslims, so it was the right match.”
Anayat’s Halal Grill officially opened its doors on August 1. It serves a variety of food such as gyros (chicken, lamb, or mixed); grilled food like lamb chops, chicken tikka, and fish; burgers; fries; an assortment of wings; and so much more. Currently, the most popular meal is the mixed gyro over rice, grilled chicken burger, and the Buffalo wings. The place is only doing take-out and free deliveries within one mile. Within the next few days, they expect to be up and running on UberEats and DoorDash. Right now, Khokhar is excited about his new endeavor and cant wait to see where it takes him.
“Opening this take-out was a huge step for me. InshaAllah I will be putting the most effort I possibly can in turning this into a franchise,” he said. “I am truly grateful for the support that I have received from my family, friends, and the entire neighborhood. I’m surrounded by people who genuinely wish to see me succeed and I appreciate everyone who has given us a chance to serve them at Anayat’s Halal Grill.”