Kimo’s Kitchen Brings Tastes of Mediterranean to the Atlantic

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With the new summer season in full swing, Rockaway welcomes some new faces and a resurrection of activity in places that were closed over the winter. One such place, that faced a permanent closure, is about to be resurrected as an even bigger, better restaurant in Rockaway Beach’s Restaurant Row. Mike Adil, formerly the owner of Paninico on Beach 116th, is ready to open Kimo’s Kitchen, a new Mediterranean place on Beach 92nd and Rockaway Beach Boulevard.

Adil, an Egyptian immigrant who once cooked for a Greek prime minister, is starting this new venture following the closing of Paninico after five years of business. Kimo’s will focus on authentic and healthy Mediterranean cuisine. 

“I couldn’t be more excited than I am,” said Adil standing at the front of the nearly-finished restaurant.

Adil came to New York in the 1980s. After his restaurant in Manhattan closed, Adil found a chef’s position at Bon Appetit on Beach 129th. He worked there for a year and a half. Mohammad Kidim, owner of Beach Bagels, helped him find the place on 116th that eventually became Paninico. Adil commutes to Rockaway from Brooklyn, but Rockaway’s sand has firmly cemented itself under his skin. “I love it here, I'm addicted to it,” he said.

Adil says the new place will have a simple and streamlined menu that is affordable, healthy, and more authentic to the food he grew up on. After closing Paninico last year due to increased rent costs, Adil realized it was time to open up a new place. He got in touch with Javed Rambaran, a JHS 180 alumni and longtime Rockaway resident who has invested in business around the Beach 90s. Rambaran had the spot on Beach 92nd available and became Adil’s business partner for Kimo’s. 

“This is something that we don’t have locally,” Rambaran said. “If this were any other business, I would have said no, it wouldn't have made sense, but I think what Mike is doing is perfect for where we are.”

The restaurant’s name, Kimo’s Kitchen, comes from the nickname for Mike Adil’s son, Kareem. “I want to pass it to the new generation,” Adil said. “And Mike’s doesn't sound too authentic,” joked Rambaran. Family is always important to Adil. Both of his daughters helped out waitressing and working at Paninico, and will probably help out at the new place as well.

While Paninico’s closure was an upset, the new, bigger space will allow Adil to do much more. Kimo’s Kitchen will feature some inside tables and counter space. But customers will also be able to take advantage of the good food and nice weather while sitting at one of the bench-like tables in the backyard space. And if you can’t make it to the restaurant, don’t worry, they will deliver.

The design of the restaurant came down to a 50-50 split between he and Rambaran, with both of them designing the kitchen and decor respectively. “I was adamant that Mike was not allowed to touch color or decor,” Rambadan jokes, “although he still did touch a few things, we just have totally different styles.”

The goal of Kimo’s is to offer “healthy, fast and affordable eating,” according to Adil. Adil insists that he would not feed the public anything that he wouldn’t feed his family. And by the looks of the menu, Adil’s family eats well. The cuisine will represent elements of Adil’s Greek and Egyptian background, for a feast that would please any appetite along the Mediterranean. Customers will be able to choose platters, pitas, wraps or bowls, stuffed with their favorite meats like chicken adana kebab, lamb gyro or more, or vegetarian favorites like falafel, topped with a choice of things like hummus, tabouli salad and more, and then dressed with things like tahini sauce, white sauce or other options. Plus the menu will feature other signature favorite like Adil’s popular breakfast dish, shashuka, a mezze plate, a variety of soups, salad and fresh juices to wash it all down. If you still have room, consider a dessert like baklava or carrot cake, and go home feeling full and satisfied.

Kimo’s is all about fresh food.  Everything at Kimo’s will be made on the premises, and they will even be planting an herb garden out back, which will produce ingredients for the menu. They hope to start a program where local kids can come in to adopt and maintain their own herb plants, which can be used in food.

Using quality products doesn’t just apply to the food. The owners also tout their goal of being as environmentally friendly as possible. “We are trying to push as close as we can to 100%...whatever we can do to get to fully biodegradable,” Rambaran said. This means Kimo’s utensils, plates, straws, and even to-go packaging will be environmentally friendly.

Adil and Rambaran aim for a soft opening this weekend, and welcome all to enjoy it. “I want everybody in the community to enjoy the food,” Adil said.

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