Mirza Chowdhury visits personally with each diner in this intimate Bangladeshi dive located in a nondescript strip mall off Atlanta’s Buford Highway. He calls returning guests by name. He blesses new guests with a generous coupon to return for more. For many of the visitors to Panahar Bangladeshi Cuisine, this is their first encounter with Bangladeshi cooking—biriyani, halim, and dhaan-shaag—and Mirza serves as an enthusiastic culinary tour guide. Born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 1962, Mirza studied the English language as a child by reading grocery bags made from old American newspapers and magazines. As a freshman at Georgia Tech studying engineering, Mirza was lured away by the restaurant business. After working his way up the food chain of Atlanta’s food and beverage venues, Mirza ceased an opportunity to open Atlanta’s first (and, to this day, only) Bangladeshi restaurant in December 2001.
Date of interview:
June 8, 2010