Mediterranean in Marianna, family cooks up the American Dream with restaurant

Published: Feb. 24, 2022 at 9:29 PM CST
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MARIANNA, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - In the middle of Marianna, Mediterranean cuisine may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, there’s one restaurant serving up authentic Mediterranean food in Jackson County.

Husband and Wife, Sami and Nadya Almaswari, have been cooking up something different at their restaurant “Mashawy Grill” the past six years.

”We are a fusion of Mediterranean, middle eastern and Yemeni food,” said Sami.

Everything from baba ganoush, hummus to their signature lamb chop plate.

“The food is amazing, the service. I haven’t found one thing I haven’t liked here,” said one customer.

Making good food can be hard work, but it’s easier when you are with those you love.

“My wife in the back she’s the one that cooks, I help her out too, I run the front, she runs the back and our son comes and helps us out,” said Sami.

The Almaswari family is from Yemen, and they love bringing their culture to the Marianna area.

”It’s passion I believe, we cook what we cook at home, present it in a nice way and people love it,” said Sami.

But their food venture is a classic recipe of the American dream. Equal parts passion and hard work.

“In 1997 I went to Canada to play in the world taekwondo championship, I was a fighter,” said Sami.

Sami moved from Yemen to Canada in the late 90′s to compete in Taekwondo. The sport eventually kicked him down to Michigan, where he decided to punch his own ticket for success.

“If you want to make the money work for yourself. So I went online and looked up gas stations for sale and I ended in Sneads, Florida.”

Sami later became a franchisee for Broaster’s Chicken with several restaurants across the world. After several years and wanting to spend more time with the family, he retired, then went in to business with the family.

”There are a lot of opportunities here. Go to school, work hard, build a good credit, be honest and the sky is the limit. I love this country.”

Now he has a love for his new hometown of Marianna.

”We got good people here, people are nice,” said Sami. ”The first time the guest they leave as friends, second time they become family.”

But the thing with families, as the saying goes, happy wife, happy life.

“We are going to continue to be here until she tells me she’s tired.”

Mashawy Grill is open 5 days a week, closed on Sunday and Monday. It is located at 3297 Caverns Rd, Marianna, FL 32446.

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