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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to annemarie@southernfoodways.org.

< Back to Oral History project: Atlanta’s Buford Highway


Mirza Chowdhury, owner

Panahar Bangladeshi Cuisine

Mirza Chowdhury visits personally with each diner in this intimate Bangladeshi restaurant 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. Mirza was a freshman at Georgia Tech studying engineering when the restaurant business lured him away. After working his way up the food chain of Atlanta’s food and beverage venues, Mirza seized an opportunity to open Atlanta’s first Bangladeshi restaurant in December 2001.

Date of interview:

Kate Medley

Kate Medley

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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