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Babaganoush Mediterranean Grill is expected to open next March in Eagle Village.
Date published: 12/5/2010
On their first date, Sanaullah Shaikh, a native of Pakistan, impressed Rebekah Cousins by making dinner.
His cooking was so good that she began urging him to open his own restaurant.
The couple, who met at college in Edinboro, Pa., married and moved to the Fredericksburg area, are about to make that happen. They plan to open Babaganoush Mediterranean Grill next March in Eagle Village.
"This is something I've always wanted to do," said Shaikh, a financial accounting manager for Virginia Commonwealth University. "Finally, when I saw Eagle Village, you know location is key for a restaurant. I said, 'I'm going to do it now.'"
Babaganoush, which takes its name from a spicy eggplant appetizer, will serve the foods Shaikh grew up eating at home. These will include kabobs made with beef, chicken or chapli, a spicy ground beef or lamb mixture; chicken qorama, a type of curry; and samosas.
"That's the whole idea," Shaikh said. "We want to bring healthy, home cooking to the restaurant."
Shaikh's two brothers, Ali and Faiz Shaikh, will manage the restaurant, and his sister-in-law, Durdana Shaikh, who back in Pakistan is known for her cooking, will do most of the cooking. He'd like to eventually quit his job to work at the restaurant.
Babaganoush will be located between Pancho Villa Express and Blackstone Coffee in Eagle Village, and will be aimed at students, professionals and people working or visiting patients at Mary Washington Hospital. Prices will run around $7 for lunch and $9 for dinner.
Rebekah Cousins-Shaikh, a special-education teacher at Colonial Forge High School, said she can't wait for it to open because the family will no longer have to drive to their favorite restaurant in Woodbridge when they go out to eat.
"Hopefully, people will love his cooking as much as I do," she said.
Babaganoush Mediterranean Grill won't be the only new tenant in Eagle Village. Defense contractor CBAIA recently relocated its corporate headquarters from Fall Hill Avenue to the Executive Offices at Eagle Village.