Panahar Bangladeshi Cuisine, co-owned by chef Khurshid Alam and Mirza Chowdhury, closes after 20 years on Buford Highway. The restaurant posted the closure announcement on Facebook Friday afternoon, thanking Alam and Chowdhury as well as longtime customers for eating and celebrating special occasions there over the years.
Chowdhury was often seen roaming the dining room, greeting people at tables and at the lunch buffet, and walking those unfamiliar with Bangladeshi cuisine through the menu.
Eater Atlanta reached out Panahar for comment on the closure.
Atlanta-based journalist, Sonam Vashi, wrote of the economic toll the COVID-19 pandemic is having on businesses and restaurants along the Buford Highway corridor in the June 2020 issue of Atlanta magazine.
“More than two dozen of the 150-plus restaurants along the corridor were closed as of late April, at least temporarily,” Vashi wrote. “Some of the qualities that have made the corridor a national destination for multicultural dining also make it more economically vulnerable to the wrath of the virus: Because most BuHi restaurants are independently owned and family-operated, they’re less likely to have the cash reserves or the deep-pocketed investors to help weather months of closure.”
Vashi’s story reveals that longtime Buford Highway Korean restaurant Donquixote, now owned by Atlanta chef Allen Suh, was closing due to insurmountable financial difficulties stemming from the loss of revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Friday morning, Will Turner announced the closure of his Mexican soul food restaurant, Blaxican, after four years in Peachtree Corners, northeast of Atlanta. Turner could not come to an agreement on temporary rent relief with his landlord. He was also unable to secure emergency loans to stay afloat, after losing 90 percent of his restaurant’s business due to the pandemic, most of which comes from the weekday workforce at nearby offices. His catering business and food truck remain in operation.
Last week, chocolate and dessert shop Cacao Cafe in Virginia-Highland closed after owners Kristen Hard and Caline Jarudi were unable to secure funding from the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) and come to an agreement with their landlord for the retail shop on North Highland Avenue. The space is now for sub-lease, but the company continues to sell its chocolates online for delivery and pickup.
An additional $310 billion was recently approved as part of a second round of PPP stimulus money for small businesses around the country, including restaurants and bars. The small business stimulus program, administered by private banks and lenders, has been heavily criticized after the first round of $350 billion ran out within two weeks, going mostly to large chains and publicly-traded companies.
Update, May 8, 6:30 p.m.: This story has been updated to add chef Khurshid Alam as a co-owner.
3375 Buford Highway NE, #1060, Atlanta. panaharbangladeshi.com.
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