The Return of Ali Hijazi
Hijazi's restaurant roots go deep in Ann Arbor. Before he became a real estate agent eight years ago, he owned Shahrayar on Maynard for eleven years. Before that, he owned Bon Juice on East William for four. But Hijazi, fifty, says he knew it was time to close LaZamaan Cafe on South State a few years back when his son Hadi, who was ten at the time, suggested the family move into the basement of the restaurant so they could see more of him. "I just couldn't believe what I heard," Hijazi recalls. "So I said, this is it."
Yet now Hijazi is back, with not one but two new places. He and two partners bought the old Zeidan's Bakery & Cafe on Packard near Platt at the beginning of the year and changed the name to Zamaan Cafe and Bakery. In June, they opened Cafe Zamaan in the Plymouth Green Shopping Center.
What's changed? "Now I have partners," Hijazi says. One silent partner will remain in the background. The other is Sam Issa, forty-four, who used to cook for him at the old LaZamaan location. Hijazi says that Issa's pretty much running the show during the day--Hijazi only stops by in the evenings to help out and to oversee the catering side of the business, which he says will be a big part of future growth.