While studying supply chain logistics at the University of Houston, Dar began working as a server at Olive Garden to make some extra money. He quickly moved into a management position and was considering a corporate position that more closely matched his degree.
An opportunity arose, however, for Dar to open an eatery in Porter and explore his longtime passion of cooking. Dar said he felt it was time to take a chance in his community because he graduated from New Caney High School and lives in Kingwood.
“I didn’t want to have a regret thinking I should have tried it out or that I had an opportunity and I didn’t take it,” he said. “My whole life I kind of played it safe, but I was like, ‘Let’s do this. Let’s have a good time with it. Let’s put in the work for it.’”
The business initially opened in March 2019 as L&H Lounge, a restaurant and hookah lounge. But Dar recently removed the hookah aspect of the business to make the rebranded L&H Cafe a more family-friendly environment.
“I didn’t want to create an atmosphere where folks were hesitant to bring their families in here,” he said.
L&H Cafe serves gourmet-style American food, such as hamburgers and sandwiches, as well as some Greek-inspired menu items, such as gyros and lamb over rice. The eatery currently operates at 75% dine-in capacity due to the coronavirus pandemic as well as offering takeout, curbside and delivery.
Dar said the restaurant had to close in April due to decreased sales during the pandemic and for repairs. A massive community response of 472 messages while L&H Cafe was temporarily closed, however, encouraged Dar to reopen the restaurant in June.
“A lot of people go after money as a motivation, ... but for me it’s more the interaction with everyone, the feedback and whether they’re coming back,” he said. “When we get those words of encouragement ... it’s worth it. In my eyes, if you do all the little things right, money will come.”
24141 Hwy. 59 N., Ste. F, Porter
Hours*: Sun.-Wed. 3-9 p.m., Thu. 3-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
*hours are temporary during the coronavirus pandemic