Friday, March 22, 2019

Barbarossa Brothers Opening Downtown

Posted By on Fri, Mar 22, 2019 at 12:08 PM

click to enlarge Imaadh Jayah, Mustapha Mustapha, and Omar Mustapha
  • Imaadh Jayah, Mustapha Mustapha, and Omar Mustapha

Barbarossa Brothers is opening on April 17th in the Sam's space at 7 N. Main Downtown.

But, Sam's fans, don't fret. Sam's will still be around during the day for breakfast and lunch. Barbarossa will take over the space at 5:30 p.m.

Barbarossa will be Sam's "alter ego," explains Imaadh Jayah, who is behind the concept with longtime friend Omar Mustapha.

They think of it as "pop-up-ish but permanent." Jayah says it will sort of be like when Kelly English took over the menu of the Five Spot. The integrity of Earnestine & Hazel's was intact, but you could get a great meal there.

"The foundation is nice," says Jayah of Sam's. "We're going to add to that. It will be the perfect blend."

Jayah will be in charge of the menu. He's cooked as such fine-dining establishments as McEwen's and Flight.

Mustapha will be in charge of front of house and marketing.

Barbarossa is named after 16th century pirates. It's applicable here, says Jayah, because he and Mustapha feel boundless in terms of the food and the scope of the project.

Mustapha has been working on an app called Edesia, which tracks local food trucks. They hope to incorporate that app, along with working with local artists while encircling young folks and creative types into a sort of community revolving around the restaurant. The goal — fingers crossed — is to one day host a festival.

The food at Barbarossa will be heavily Mediterranean/Greek with hints of Cajun. Jayah explains that this was how he learned to cook. There's his take on Shrimp & Grits, with a harissa tomato broth and couscous, along with garbanzo croutons. The Greek Fries, they say, are outrageous with Kasseri cheese, gyro meat, and gravy — like an exotic poutine. There are pasta bowls and salads and lots of favorite dishes from Sam's — wings, catfish, burgers.

So what's in it for the owner of Sam's, Mustapha Mustapha, who is the father of Omar? They say it took some convincing but the elder Mustapha saw the potential of a new clientele.

"We're really trying to get the city involved," they say.

Barbarossa Brothers will have a soft opening starting April 17th and will have a grand opening a week later.

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