Halal grocery store in Hamilton moves to much larger location

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Published December 9, 2021 at 9:11 pm

The family who owns one of Hamilton’s long-standing halal grocery stores are aiming to make food shopping an experience at their new location.

The Eastern Food Market has moved just down the street, while levelling up big-time floor space. Its new 4,000-sq.-ft. location at 920 Upper Wentworth St. is more than three times as large as the former location, and includes a takeout restaurant called Timmy’s Tanür. The store has been across the street from Limeridge Mall on Hamilton Mountain for two decades, and is now run by the father-and-sons trio of Nadeem, Dawood and Haider Younis. In the last 24 months, they set their minds on  expanding.

“A lot of work went into beautifying the place,” Dawood Younis says. “People who have been coming to the old store for years, they’re almost shocked when they walk in. And we wanted to create that experience — you’re not going there because you have to get these halal groceries, or I have to get these specific spices, you’re going because you want to go there.”

The store sells a variety of Arabic, Indian, Pakistani and Afghani foods, a further selection of spices and groceries. Its butcher offer fresh cuts of chicken, lamb, beef, veal, goat and oxtail.

“There are larger halal stores in Hamilton,” Younis adds. “We looked at it as, if we’re not the largest, let’s try to at least be the nicest in terms of the experience,” Younis adds.

The family emphasized having a spacious layout after moving into a building that had been a Scholar’s Choice store. Younis notes that many stores in the ethnic food or halal market often deal with cramped confines. Their former location, a one-minute walk away at 1004 Upper Wentworth, was too compact to allow for shopping carts.

“Our shelving comes in around five feet (high), so you can see through the whole store as soon as you walk in,” Younis says. “We didn’t spare many expenses. Everything in here is brand-new.”

Timmy’s Tanür is also equipped with a wood-fired oven for baking fresh manakish, Afghani naan, and shawarma wraps. One treat on the menu is a nutella manakish (pictured, above).

Manakish is a traditional Levantine food that is somewhat similar to Italy’s traditional flatbread pizza.

“It’s not heavy at all, so you don’t get that bloating feeling you might get sometimes with the thicker pizza. People have a big family, they might order 10, cut it into slices and everyone has some,” Dawood Younis says.

More information about the market is available at easternfoodmarket.ca.

(Photos courtesy of Eastern Food Market.)

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