Petra Cafe to open U. of M. location, eyes Downtown next

Owners of Petra Café, Jamal and Lisa Douba, are getting ready to open their newest location, this time in Loeb Properties’ Highland Strip development near the University of Memphis, and they hope to expand into the Downtown area by sometime next year.
 
The Doubas have opened eight Petra Cafés in the Mid-South area, selling off some of the locations as franchises. The new restaurant will be the third café that they plan to own and operate themselves.
 
Jamal started in the restaurant business many years ago with Sadie’s Deli in Midtown (now the site of Rafi’s Beer Garden). The Doubas opened the first Petra Café in 2002 and their second in 2007.
 
“We chose the university area because there are a lot of students who are open to our kind of Mediterranean food and there are many students from other countries, so it fits right in there,” said Jamal Douba.

The menu includes Greek, Middle Eastern and Italian fare, with pita sandwiches, falafel, gyros, salads, 37 different kinds of paninis, and Mezza. Douba says their most popular menu item is the gyro, which is a mix of beef and lamb in a pita with cucumber sauce, tomatoes, and onions.
 
Petra's will be open for lunch and dinner, and will also provide takeout and catering options.

Plans for the new location call for 1,015 square feet of space, the smallest Petra Café to date, and construction should get underway soon with an expected grand opening in early 2017.
 
“Hopefully our next one will be somewhere in downtown,” said Douba, whose plan is to develop one new location each year. “I would like to have one near the courthouse on Main Street.”
 
The University District will be enjoying a variety of new restaurants in the coming months, as Israeli-based Burgerim is slated to open before year’s end in the Highland Strip and Char Steakhouse and Newk’s Eatery are set to open soon in the nearby Highland Row mixed-use development.
 

Read more articles by Michael Waddell.

Michael Waddell is a native Memphian who returned to Memphis several years ago after working for nearly a decade in San Diego and St. Petersburg, Fla., as a writer, editor and graphic designer. His work over the past few years has been featured in The Memphis Daily News, Memphis Bioworks Magazine, Memphis Crossroads, the New York Daily News and the New York Post. Contact Michael.
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