Visit Crown Fried Chicken & Kebab any day of the week and you’re likely to find an eclectic mix of patrons there. Since it’s opening, the eatery has become a fast favorite of students from nearby Bates college, local workers on their lunch breaks and members of Lewiston’s Afghani, Iraqi and Somali communities.
The draw? A fully Halal menu of quality take-out with a focus on freshly fried chicken and South Asian cuisine including kebabs, gyros, shawarma and biryani.
Whether behind the counter or over the fryer, you will also likely spot owner/chef Obaidullah Mohamed or another member of his family, including his wife or one of his daughters.
Originally from Afghanistan, Obaidullah and most of his family came to the United States in 2014 by way of Russia, where he spent 20+ years running a restaurant. Once in Maine, Obaidullah looked to put his restaurant expertise to work, but first he had to find a suitable location.
After a long search, he found an unassuming, but ideal, location on College Street – a multi-use building blocks from Bates college with three apartment units and a first-floor commercial unit. Obaidullah’s faith prohibited him from taking a traditional interest-based loan, instead, CEI’s fee-for-service offering provided the funds needed to secure the property. The apartments would provide rental income and a place to stay while the renovation work on the commercial unit was underway
Two and a half years later, Obaidullah experienced first-hand that renovations are never as simple as they first seem, especially in the middle of a pandemic that disrupted supply chains and made contractors difficult to schedule. Even though the space had previously been used a restaurant, much of its key equipment, including the cooking hood, was no longer up to code, requiring additional upgrades.
A CEI StartSmart business advisor, who had previously helped Obaidullah with his loan application, now helped him navigate the details of Maine restaurant codes, as well as connect him to potential contractors for plumbing and electrical work. After a long renovation, Crown Fried Chicken & Kebab opened in November 2021 and once again, Obaidullah is doing what he knows best.
“We’re busy and I get to work with my family,” Obaidullah reflects on restaurant ownership. “It’s hard, but it’s good.”
Learn more about Crown Fried Chicken & Kebab
- Crown Fried Chicken & Kebab can be found at 81 College Street in Lewiston.
- Delivery can be ordered via Grubhub, UberEats and DoorDash.
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Check out the full range of CEIs Business Advising offerings at https://www.ceimaine.org/advising