Kismet Cafe to relocate away from campus

Meraal Hakeem and Paul Cobler

Students will no longer be able to walk and grab a shawarma wrap from Kismet Cafe, as the restaurant plans to relocate to a newer building this winter. 

Owner Rami Bataineh confirmed the relocation, saying the reason behind the move is so the restaurant will be able to cater to its growing business, as it moves to the Hancock Center on 41st and Red River streets.

“It’s actually for the sake of an upgrade,” Bataineh said. “We’ve been sitting there for a long time, and the building is getting so old. We were looking for a new place to continue our good service.”

Kismet Cafe serves Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine and has been located on the corner of West 24th and Guadalupe streets for 22 years.

The eatery will close the weekend before Thanksgiving, and the new one will open in mid-December, Bataineh said.

“I’m not quite sure what will happen with business,” Bataineh said. “When we open up, we’ll see what happens, but we’re going to keep the same menu, same hours, everything.”

The new restaurant will also provide an upgrade in size and parking. The current restaurant is 1,200 square feet, and the new one will be 2,500 square feet, Bataineh said.

Selam Metta, an architecture and architectural engineering freshman, said he frequents Kismet Cafe but doesn’t think he’ll be able to eat there often once the restaurant moves to its new location.

“I really enjoy going to Kismet Cafe for dinner,” Metta said. “The food is amazing, and it’s such a short walk from campus. It makes me sad that they’re relocating since I didn’t bring my car to campus, and I probably won’t be able to visit there as often.”

For workers at the restaurant, the move is a positive one because parking availability for workers has been an issue at the current location, Bataineh said.

Assistant manager Mariana Rodriguez said she will miss the interactions she had with students on a daily basis at the current location.

“We’re not going to have the same clientele,” Rodriguez said. “There’s not going to be students. They’re more social, and over here students come in every day, some twice a day. Over there it’s going to be more families that I’m not going to be able to communicate with as well.”

Bataineh said he believes the expanded parking lot will draw a different demographic of customers and more business to Kismet Cafe. 

“Some people don’t come to this location because there’s nowhere for them to park,” Rodriguez said. “Over there, it’s going to be more convenient for them.”

Bataineh said he plans to bring Kismet Cafe back to a location closer to campus, but there is no timeline for when that will be.

“We’re looking forward to going back to campus once we find a bigger, nicer place that fits our operation,” Bataineh said. “This place is 1,200 square feet, and our business is growing dramatically, and it’s not keeping up with the amount of business we have. We definitely need a bigger place.”