You can’t miss the family imprint inside Mazza Mediterranean.
At the newly opened restaurant on South Ocean Avenue in Patchogue, Wais Omar and wife Zarlasht are the chefs, while son Samir and daughter Sahba take charge on the business end.
The debut of what Samir Omar describes as the “harmonious blend” of Afghan with Greek cuisine — inside the former Colosso Di Rodi Greek Bistro — is the culmination of a longstanding goal that is miles and miles away from the pushcarts and coffee trucks that the family patriarch operated for years in New York City.
“This is a big step, and to do it with my father, this has been his dream for the longest time,” said Samir, 23, who lives in Farmingville. “It’s two different worlds — and this is definitely a big jump from pushcarts to brick and mortar.”
Mazza opened in early October in the 1,600-square-foot space.
But the new place is retaining some elements of the previous tenant, including some popular Greek dishes that will appear on the menu alongside Afghan items.
Highlights on the Afghan end of the menu include mantu — steamed dumplings filled with sautéed ground beef and topped with yogurt and tomato sauce — along with chicken and lamb kebabs whose chunks of meat have marinated “for a few days on end,” Samir Omar said.
“It’s a beautiful fusion when two cuisines collide in that kitchen,” he said. “We know this restaurant had a special place in the hearts of residents of Patchogue, so we didn’t want to strip away the only Greek food that would be in the town.”
He said the family hopes to whet Long Islanders’ appetite for Afghan cuisine inside a restaurant that seats more than 50 diners.
“On Long Island, you don’t really see that much Afghan cuisine,” Samir Omar said. “So we’re here to celebrate life, we’re here to celebrate family heritage and we’re here to celebrate exceptional food that transcends borders.”
Samir has been a part of the restaurant project while working full time at a financial job in Times Square.
“Once I’m done with my shift in the city, I’m going to the shop,” he said. “Everyone will see my smile when I walk in.”
To be able to work alongside his loved ones [including his cousin, Sophia Omar, pictured] in a restaurant not far from where he grew up, Omar said, makes Mazza Mediterranean’s opening that much more meaningful.
“I’m all about family and doing something with my family … that’s the biggest thing,” he said. “This is something huge for the town and I hope it’s something everyone enjoys.”
If you go
Mazza Mediterranean is located at 58d South Ocean Ave. in Patchogue. It’s open from noon to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday.
Top: Wais Omar (R) with his niece Sophia at Mazza Mediterranean on Wednesday. (Michael White)