Grand Cafe offers new way to dine

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  • New concept: Owner Amre Elsayed and head chef Mohammed Wafik at Grand Cafe (Photo by Mark Tatem)

    New concept: Owner Amre Elsayed and head chef Mohammed Wafik at Grand Cafe (Photo by Mark Tatem)

  • Come to eat: Owner Amre Elsayed stands in the dining room of Grand Cafe (Photo by Mark Tatem)

    Come to eat: Owner Amre Elsayed stands in the dining room of Grand Cafe (Photo by Mark Tatem)

  • New decor: Buffet and new decor create a new experience at Grand Cafe (Photo by Mark Tatem)

    New decor: Buffet and new decor create a new experience at Grand Cafe (Photo by Mark Tatem)

Hamilton has a new restaurant in town offering up a new, more affordable way to dine.

Grand Cafe, located on the corner of Parliament and Church Streets in the space that was at one time Greg’s Steakhouse, has been open since September but started serving dinner last week.

The restaurant’s menu centres around two sizes of dishes — grand and petite — that come with corresponding prices. From appetisers and entrées to desserts and wine — customers can choose how much to eat and how much to spend.

“We understand the toughness of the economy and that’s why we thought of the grand and petite dishes,” said owner Amre Elsayed. “Smaller portions for more affordable prices.”

For the past three months, Grand Cafe only offered breakfast and lunch and then recently phased in the dinner menu.

“We did phases with the opening to assure quality and speed of service as well as iron out any snags,” said Mr Elsayed, who has more than 30 years’ experience in the restaurant business and formerly with the Plaza Café in Hamilton. “We wanted to perfect the food and the service.”

The menu, he describes, is eclectic with a “little bit of everything”.

“Being a French, Italian or Indian restaurant is tough because it puts you in a corner,” he said. “People are versatile and well travelled, they like variety.”

The lunch menu is loaded with pizzas, wraps, burgers, soups and salads along with entrée selections, including shawarma kebabs. For dinner, customers can find items such as lamb chops, seafood and a selection of steaks along with some international entrées including Tapsilog, a popular Filipino dish.

Another new concept for the restaurant is their fixed-price hot and cold buffets for breakfast and lunch, though patrons can also be served à la carte at white clothed tables as well.

The buffet differs from others in that there is a fixed price for a grand container ($14), medium ($10) or petite ($7), instead of paying based on the weight the food.

The hot items at the lunch buffet differ every day but on offer are items like beef lasagne, honey-baked or Greek chicken, mac and cheese, steamed vegetables, seafood casserole and teriyaki beef.

Grand Cafe’s salad bar features more than 20 different toppings and is even cheaper with fixed prices of $10, $8, and $6 for the large, medium and petite, respectively.

To add to the selection, there is also a noodle bar where customers can create their own Italian or Japanese dish based on their choice of pasta, toppings, sauce and broth, which is also a fixed price.

“The chef cooks the dish right in front of you but you choose the ingredients and you portion out how much you want,” said Mr Elsayed. “It gives people the freedom to choose what they want and how much they want,” he said.

The Grand Cafe employs 17 people, most of whom are Bermudian, including all of the wait staff and both assistant managers.

The interior of the building has been renovated, creating a light rustic look complete with exposed recycled brick and better acoustics, “eliminating the echo” that customers had complained about in the past.

Mr Elsayed has even more plans for the restaurant, including creating a wine cellar in the upstairs private dining room. The second floor will eventually be transformed into a bar lounge area with comfortable seating.

Since the restaurant opened, Mr Elsayed said that business has been going well.

“It’s been good and we’ve had a number of parties and groups come in as well,” he said. “We’re very excited about the concept of the restaurant because even though the economy is tough we want people to still come out and enjoy the experience of going to a restaurant without it hitting their pocketbook too much.”

Asked about the struggling restaurant industry and whether he felt a new restaurant had a good chance at survival, he said: “Absolutely, with a good concept, good prices with people who really care about it, yes, I think it can work.”

The Grand Cafe is open Monday-Friday from 7am-10am for breakfast, 11am-3pm for lunch and 6-9pm for dinner; on Saturdays it is open for dinner from 6-9pm.

For more information call 292-2777.

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Published Dec 17, 2012 at 10:00 am (Updated Dec 17, 2012 at 10:24 am)

Grand Cafe offers new way to dine

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