Sam Mahmood examined the selection of restaurants in Roseburg and saw a need for something different.

Mahmood decided to open a Mediterranean restaurant when all he could find in the category was Alexander’s Greek Cuisine located in downtown Roseburg.

“We didn’t see anything in Roseburg that had that type of food and it’s something we lived with all our lives,” Mahmood said. “A lot of people are familiar with it because I see it in Portland and Salem and other places.”

Mahmood, originally from Fresno, California, grew up with shawarma, gyros and hummus made by his mother of German descent.

“I enjoy it more than a lot of different foods,” Mahmood said. “It’s just really good comfort food.”

The House of Falafel became a reality for Mahmood after a year of planning and a month of getting the space ready at 250 NE Garden Valley Blvd.

“I love Roseburg,” Mahmood said. “Everybody that I talked to and told them what we were doing was 100 percent supportive. It’s a God-sent town.”

In just the first week, Mahmood was thrilled by 29 likes on the restaurant’s Facebook page and positive reviews from customers.

“A lot of people who came in and tried the food, they were a little bit hesitant, but when they tasted it, they saw that it was original,” Mahmood said. “It was like something they experienced in the Middle East and they loved it, they went crazy about it.

The kitchen will be visible for customers so they can watch as their food is prepared. Mahmood said he is focused on doing everything fresh and of the highest quality, just like he would at home.

“Don’t expect to come in and get a little bit of food, you’ll get a lot of food,” Mahmood said. “That’s the way we treat ourselves at home. It’s a shame to get up from the table if you’re still hungry and the diversity of the types of food makes it even better.”

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Business reporter

Janelle Polcyn is the business reporter at the News-Review, graduated from the University of Texas, and is a podcast enthusiast.

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