Z Garden Celebrates Its First Birthday At 2350 Pico Boulevard In Santa Monica

Friday, 22 Feb 2013, 9:03:00 AM

Mitch James

Samir Kamoun will perform as a Charlie Chaplin this Saturday, Feb. 23 from noon to 3 pm at Z Garden.
Courtesy image
Samir Kamoun will perform as a Charlie Chaplin this Saturday, Feb. 23 from noon to 3 pm at Z Garden.

Z Garden is celebrating its one-year anniversary at 2350

Pico Blvd with a celebration this Saturday, Feb. 23 from noon to 3 pm.

The restaurant’s owners have invited their long time

friend Samir Kamoun (pictured right) to perform as a Charlie Chaplin (which he

did for 30 plus years for Universal Studios).

The celebration will include free food and a jumpy house

for children.

Shadi Abed, co-owner of Z Garden, said making the

restaurant a neighborhood hangout was a priority from day one.

“People now stop me in the neighborhood to talk to me

about the food,” Abed said. “We have become a place to hang out and watch the

African Cup Soccer, Olympics, and NFL playoffs. This last year we welcomed our

fellow Tunisian who won Gold at the Olympics in the 10k swim event (he trained

at USC). We have a wide variety of customers from families, to SMC students who

need a healthy cheap meal, to workers from offices in the neighborhood.

Abed said his partner was a chef for a Saudi Prince for

three years. “We had some ideas for what

we wanted to do here,” he said.

Abed said the most important concept for the restaurant

was keeping everything fresh.

“When we get meat in, we use it in two days, max,” he

said. “We only use the freezers for the fruit smoothies.”

He said all of its meat was local from California and

halal – food allowed under Sharia law.

Although Mediterranean food is one of the healthiest

fares to eat on the planet, Abed said making Z Garden as healthy as possible

was a big priority.

“There are things other Mediterranean places serve that

we don’t because it’s just all oil,” he said. “Some fresh healthy favorites

include chicken shawarma (sauteed marinated chicken breast), the veggie combo

with hummus, baba ghannouj, tabbouleh, grape leaves and falafel (the baba

ghannouj has a deliciously intense smoky flavor) and of course, the

flaky-sticky-sweet baklava.”

Since opening, the restaurant has participated in

several fundraisers and school events for JAMS and Grant Elementary School. It

has also supported the Team Santa Monica Swim Club at their annual swim meet,

supplied volunteers at Malibu International Marathon, and have been an active

member in The Pico Improvement Organization.

For more information, visit www.zgardensantamonica.com.

Copyright © 2011 by Santa Monica Mirror. All rights reserved.