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2032 W. Devon Ave
Chicago, IL 60659
Ghareeb Nawaz Restaurant—the name literally means, “Sustainer of the Poor” is named after an 8th century saint of India who made it his business to look after the poor. It’s no surprise that this bright, flamboyantly decorated Pakistani and Indian restaurant located at 2032 W. Devon Ave. provides heaping servings of lamb and chicken biryani, savory curries and khormas, and generous portions of kabobs at unbelievably low prices.
After taking in the multi-colored Christmas lights (up year-round) draped across the exterior and the bright-green paint job, one may even think twice about entering the doors marked “Ghareeb Nawaz.” But regulars swear by Ghareeb Nawaz’s trademark samosas (.50 cents each- spicy, potato-filled pastry shells) that once you’ve tried it, you’ll never get enough.
“I love this place,” said Dave Anderson, 45, a regular at Ghareeb Nawaz. “You can’t help but come back for more after the first time you’ve eaten here. And you can’t exactly miss it,” he added, referring to the restaurant’s festive, almost gaudy décor.
And who wouldn’t come back for more after getting a look at the prices? Chicken biryani for two is $3, and Sheekh Kabobs are $1. There’s even something for those looking for a blend of Indian-American taste—the Gyros Paratha, consisting of sliced gyros mixed with a secret Indian recipe for only $2.
“Our goal is to continue to provide low-cost Indian food to our customers,” said Bashir Bozai, 55, manager at Ghareeb Nawaz who hails from India. “When people want Indian food, they usually go to Devon Avenue. The food there is very expensive. We want to provide quality, inexpensive food everyone can enjoy on Devon.”
Ghareeb Nawaz is a medium-sized ethnic Indian/Pakistani restaurant located at the easternmost extreme of Devon. Its name means'sustainer of the poor', and it certainly lives up to that name, providing large portions of tasty ethnic food at unbelievably low prices. The place is usually bustling, and is especially packed on weekends, with a customer base including not only ethnic South Asians, but many Africans and European-Americans as well. It admittedly doesn't exactly have the best decor, though. The seating arrangements consist of plain hard benches and tables. There is a separate seating zone for families. Service is also minimal, with customers ordering and paying at the counter, waiting, and picking up their food, carry-out or eat-in, when called out over the comm (although you'll be cleared up after you're done). Tableware is limited to plastic utensils, and cutlery usually consists of divided steel tray-plates, and ordinary-looking bowls. But enough about that. The only reason this place gets 4 stars out of me is because of its great-tasting food and superb value. A delicious hearty serving of biryani (rice with meat and a spicy paste) costs $3 if its lamb, and its a dollar less for chicken. Tasty kormas and curries of chicken and lamb cost about $3, while yummy vegetarian dishes like dal (lentils), chana masala (chick peas in a thick paste) and veggie mix curry come to about $2 (be warned - the food here is pretty rich). A large serving of steaming white basmati rice to go with that is a dollar, and it's about 50 cents for various hot ethnic flat breads, including Naan, Paraatha and Roti. Some good combo meals and thalis are served as well, and you can find good ethnic sandwiches, wraps and snacks here as well. Beverages, including ethnic drinks like Thums-Up and Limca, are available. Ghareeb Nawaz usually has some sweet halwas available, especially on weekends, as well as delicious tandoori-baked chicken, kebabs and shank of lamb. Service and turnover are fast. Cold water is free, and considering how spicy the food can be (unless you specify otherwise), you'll need plenty of it to prevent your own eyes from watering. If you're a spice-lover, on the other hand, then ask them to add extra spice - they'll actually do it. That way, the staff are very accomodating.