Karim Pirani constructed his first commercial retail center in 2009 at Hwy. 59 and First Colony Boulevard but struggled to attract tenants. To try and spark activity within his retail center, Pirani opened his own restaurant, Nikoz Fusion Grill, in 2011.
“I was sitting here in prime Sugar Land retail [space], and nobody was wanting to rent,” he said. “I came up with a concept, and I wanted to do something that was healthy.”
Pirani’s concept was to combine the Mediterranean and Asian cuisines into one food genre. To accomplish his vision, he developed the restaurant’s menu to offer many traditional Greek, Mediterranean and Asian dishes, and season them with an array of Indian spices.
The strategic blend of the different cultures is intended to appeal to the diverse cultures in Fort Bend County, Pirani said. He said he was inspired to develop a diverse menu after experiencing various cultures while studying abroad in London.
“One of the issues we have here is people don’t know what food is, and they’re afraid to try new stuff,” he said. “I’ve taken what I want as the best dish from each of those cultures [around the Mediterranean]and put it together here. I wanted to do a lot of the things you can’t get in terms of food.”
The restaurant has built a strong reputation around its gyro sandwich, Pirani said. He said he wanted to distinguish the Nikoz gyro from other local Mediterranean restaurants by offering only halal meats. According to Islamic law, halal is a term that designates what can be consumed by practitioners of Islam and how the food is prepared.
Because of the success the gyro sandwich has experienced, every plate at the restaurant is prepared with halal meats.
“Halal food by nature is organic,” Pirani said. “There are no antibiotics because of the laws of the Islamic world. These are free-roaming animals.”
With the success and popularity Nikoz Fusion Grill has experienced over the past four years, Pirani is restructuring the restaurant’s menu to offer more Asian dishes. The restaurant is slated to unveil its new menu in November. Some of the new options include various Indo-Asian entrees, including Szechuan and Karachi chicken, vegetable biryani, grilled veggie kebabs and tikka masala.
“We’re taking some Chinese food, and we’re giving it a little Indian twist,” he said. “All of our food is very unique to us. If you like the flavor, it’s because we’re fusing different spices from the Mediterranean or from the Indian cultures.”
Nikoz Fusion Grill
16754 Hwy. 59, Ste. A, Sugar Land
Hours: Tue.-Thu. 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m.,
Sun. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.