Kimo’s Comes Back Saturday

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 Kimo’s is coming back! After a fire damaged Rockaway Beach’s beloved Mediterranean restaurant in October, owners Mike Adil and Javed Rambaran are getting ready to reopen their doors on Saturday, February 20.

“I’m excited. I can’t wait to see my customers again,” chef Mike Adil said in a newly revamped Kimo’s as he prepared to open this weekend. The restaurant that serves Mediterranean cuisine has been closed for nearly four months after an electrical fire broke out in the back kitchen after the restaurant closed for the day on October 28, 2020. With the FDNY right next door, the fire was quickly extinguished but the damage had been done. At the time, Rambaran called it “a total loss.” But there was never a point where the business partners decided to call it quits, even after insurance fell through. Instead, they decided to rebuild and now Kimo’s is about the reopen “better than before,” Adil says.

Almost everything about Kimo’s is new. The back prep kitchen, where the fire broke out, has been replaced. The walls have been newly sheetrocked and painted. Even the storefront has a slightly new appearance with a new sign that simply says “Kimo’s,” rather than “Kimo’s Kitchen,” with an addition that sums up what you get when you order, “Fresh Simple Authentic Mediterranean.” But customers know that chef Adil and his family give it that little something extra. “I give good food with good heart and love,” he said.

That love has gone into a brand-new menu, which will debut when the restaurant reopens on Saturday. Adil, whose mother is from Greece and father is from Egypt, has incorporated more into the restaurant to pay homage to both cultures. The newly-painted walls are decorated with scenery and posters from both Egypt and Greece and the menu will speak a language that anyone can understand—good food. With the reopening, Adil took the opportunity to make some changes to the old menu. “I think some of the Egyptian options, people weren’t so familiar with. So I figured, let’s make it easy and more familiar for people,” he said. To do so, he has added even more Greek-inspired dishes into the menu such as chicken avgolemono soup, entrees such as braised lamb shank, Greek moussaka and Greek pastitsio, as well as sides like lemon potatoes. However, many of the Egyptian delicacies such as Egyptian falafels and breakfast favorite, shashuka, remain. Adil has also expanded the breakfast menu to include a selection of Mediterranean omelets, bowls, specialty toasts and even a Greek favorite, spanakopita. And of course, the basics of the old menu, such as the pitas, bowls and the Kimo’s Fat Boy, a pita stuffed with a choice of protein, French fries and white sauce, will all return.

The bottom of the menu also features a special new addition that won’t fill bellies but may fill hearts. “We support, appreciate and are proud to serve our first responders and our communities,” a note at the bottom of the new menu reads. For the support from the community and from the quick actions of the firefighters and police next door, Adil wanted to add a special note of acknowledgement. “Without these guys,” Adil said, pointing toward the neighboring firehouse and precinct, “who knows what would’ve happened. They rushed to the place and they saved it and I will never forget that. I appreciate it, so I wrote something to show that appreciation.”

Adil would also like to show appreciation to those who supported him by paying it forward. Adil has created a line of Kimo’s gear including masks, t-shirts, hats and tote bags with the Kimo’s logo on it, that he hopes to sell when the restaurant reopens, but it isn’t to make a profit.

“After the fire, the community asked if I needed a GoFundMe and everyone came forward wanting to support it, but I turned it down and I don’t want the community to think I’m rejecting them. I thought about doing something beneficial  for the community in our name to show our appreciation. We want to sell this stuff and the money we make will go to a charity or to a college fund for kids who can’t afford it. I want people to know that when they buy these things, it doesn’t go to us, but back to the community,” Adil said.

While the October fire may have been a hard blow, Adil says he’s ready to put it behind him while community support helps move things forward. “It was tough, but I want to focus on the positive,” Adil said. We were really lucky. It could have been bad. But we’re good. People have good memories of this place and one thing I do is, I throw the bad things behind me. You can’t carry on more than what you carry every day. We’re just going to ignore and move on. Thank God, we’re back on our feet and we’re going to be even better than before.”

Kimo’s, located at 92-16 Rockaway Beach Blvd., will have a soft opening on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.

 By Katie McFadden

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