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Tanoor owner Iman Abuteled and his family have been feeding Chicagoans for over 20 years. They have been catering to any occasion — birthday parties, weddings, showers, etc. — since 2001.
Abuteled and his family came to the United States as students. Once here they began working part-time jobs so they could make a little money to send to their families back home. The owner of Tanoor stated that the jobs allowed them to learn new things and develop the idea for their business.
With the help of his mother, they opened their first catering business. At first, their menu was small as they began feeding Chicagoans Italian delicacies like pasta, chicken piccata, and sliced chicken linguini. Reminiscent Abuteled stated, “I think we’ve been successful doing this.”
They “didn’t want to keep feeding people the same thing over and over,” so they added a Mediterranean menu and then a Mexican one.
In the beginning, they cooked all their cuisines in one kitchen. However, it was not long before Tanoor needed to expand to an additional kitchen which then had to be extended to a third. They operate from the front location.
The owner stated their most popular dish is the Mixed Grill. This consists of an assortment of chicken, beef, and kifta with onion, bell peppers, mushrooms, and grilled tomato. They serve over tanoor rice with a side of pita bread. All the meat is served halal.
Abuteled’s favorite menu item is the chicken kabobs. “Keep in mind we don’t use any gas for grilling. Everything is done over wood charcoal,” he added. They also have a few yummy desserts available for their patrons.
Before the pandemic hit they were set to open more places. Unfortunately, like many businesses around the world, they had to delay their dreams. “The pandemic really crippled us,” Abuteled stated. However, they have been very fortunate to have not been closed down due to COVID.
They did lose most of their delivery drivers and have had to stop offering that service at this time. People can order their delicious cuisine and have it delivered through DoorDash, UberEats, or Grubhub. Tanoor’s owner stated they felt horrible that they cannot do delivery at this time. However, they are hopeful delivery drivers become available soon.
Besides offering takeout or in-person dining, people can hire them to cater for any event big or small. For events catering to guests of up to 50, they will need at least a day’s notice. For occasions with 100 or more guests, they will need roughly two to three days advance notice.
Abuteled would like to have more neighborhood interactions. “This community is coming up 100%. They’re cleaning up the streets and putting in new buildings. I’m across the street from the Chicago Public Library [Little Village Branch]. The firehouse is down the street and the police station is a few blocks from me. So this neighborhood is getting really, really nice,” he described. Adding, “Without the community, we would not have succeeded.”
Written by Sheena Robertson
Interview: Owner of Tanoor Iman Abuteled on January 7, 2022
Tanoor Kabob: Menu