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Tahini's: a taste of the Middle East with cultural fusion

Tahini's grand opening is Dec. 10 at 5 Clair Rd. W. in the Food Basics plaza

As an immigrant from Pakistan who came to Canada in 2005, Muddussar Shah used to work in the oil fields in Alberta.

But in his mind he knew he always wanted to open a restaurant. Question was, when and where?

He said he likes small towns, and so opening up his first restaurant in Guelph was an easy choice and now the city has its first Tahini’s location, adding to the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine offered in the city.

Shah’s best friend and accountant, pointed him in the direction of Tahini’s. Shah tried Tahini’s food in London and decided he wanted to be a franchisee.

Ali Tahini, co-founder of Tahini’s with his brother Omar, came to London in 2012 after the Egyptian revolution. By 2019 there were three Tahini’s locations in London.

Guelph is now the company's 18th location and is located at 5 Clair Rd. W. in the Food Basics plaza. The grand opening is set for Dec. 10.

Tahini’s make authentic Middle Eastern food, but with a twist. The traditional spice in Middle Eastern food is tahini.

“What we aspire for when we chose the name Tahini’s is that we want to be the Chipotle’s of Middle Eastern food. They have Chipotle’s, we have Tahini’s, and that’s the punchline,” said Tahini’s.

Tahini said what makes his restaurants different from other Mediterranean restaurants is their fusion dishes. 

“Where we bring in cuisines from all over the world, and combine them together and make unique what I like to call Canadian dishes, because like this, you know, diversity is part of Canada,” said Tahini.

Some examples he listed were butter chicken and rice, jerk chicken shawarma, and shawarma poutine. 

Shah said he enjoys the falafel and his wife likes the butter chicken.

“And the feedback is amazing. I mean, it's very positive feedback,” said Shah after the soft opening the restaurant had last week.

“So it's a competitive landscape. But, you know, we plan on overcoming that by just being genuine, building relationships with people, building that customer experience,” said Tahinis.

“And we will also always aspire to try to know all of our customers by name and try to build relationships with the community and truly be a part of the Guelph community,” he said.

Tahini's is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.