By Ilija Sekulovski
Duzans Mediterranean Grill has opened its doors, giving many Astorians what they’ve been waiting patiently for.
However, on one of the menu boards, instead of food, is the inspiration for Hasan’s (owner of Duzan) entire culinary philosophy, and the passion behind it. A lesson that ‘there should never be shortcuts when it comes to great food’. Words told to Hasan by his Grandma Jalilie when he was just a boy, and ones he has lived by ever since. It’s that same philosophy, along with the passion for food and respect for his customers, that has made Duzan’z a cornerstone of Middle Eastern cuisine in Astoria, and Queens.
Always the make do chef, since he was young Hasan was happiest when taking any ingredients from a fridge and turning them into a great meal he could share with his closest friends.
When he moved to Astoria, in 2004, he struggled to find the homecooked food that he was used to. This motivated him to do something about it.
So, he opened the doors to Duzans on Steinway in 2009, his passion for freshness and unique style quickly becoming the talk of the community, along with his delicious shawarmas.
When asked why he chose Astoria, the answer was simple, and one that’s shared by many restaurateurs in the area. The diversity. ‘NYC is one of the most diverse places on Earth. Queens, is the most diverse place in NY, and Astoria is the most diverse neighborhood in Queens‘, and to Hasan, this was the only reason he needed.
‘Great food brings everyone together’ he says, ‘no matter what background you are or what religion, sharing a plate of delicious food, you put everything aside and appreciate it together’
Hasan finds a type of solace and gratitude in putting smiles on people’s faces, and when it comes to food, he’s got a lot to say.
‘I think today people tend to overcomplicate food. We took a step back and tried to simplify it. It’s about the meat and the spices. That’s it. And with good technique, fresh ingredients and respect for your customers you cannot go wrong’
Hasan closed the doors a few months ago for a revamp, and now after waiting (impatiently), it’s finally done, and it looks amazing.
Recycled wood, brick and leather was used where possible and every inch is spotless. The same care he puts into his food has definitely gone into the place.
A woodsy feel with boards of all shades tiled across the walls, and an ambiance that will soon become second nature to customers, along with the vibrant green theme that’s seen throughout, perhaps an homage to the passion for freshness.
Vegetables and meats are delivered fresh everyday, along with spices that are ground up in house by hand, and bread baked on the premise. Everything is done in house and prepared in front of each customer. The passion and love for food Duzan has is seen in every smile.
And that’s the most important thing to Hasan, the customer.
‘People would tell me I’m crazy for doing all this, but I would always say, if respecting my customers is crazy, then I’m the craziest person in Astoria‘
And like the flashing lights say, at the end of the day, it’s all Love & Shawarma!
So come and check out some wholesome, simple and delicious food today at 6:30PM and enjoy the smiles, together.
Where: 2411 Steinway St, Astoria.
Phone: 718 204 7488