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New Chicago Ridge grocer offers Middle Eastern fare

Ashraf Abuelhawis enjoying his work as owner new Middle Eastern grocery store Chicago Ridge.  |  Steve Metsch~Sun-Times Media

Ashraf Abuelhawa is enjoying his work as the owner of a new Middle Eastern grocery store in Chicago Ridge. | Steve Metsch~Sun-Times Media

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Sensing a demand for Middle Eastern cuisine among a growing population in the area, Ashraf Abuelhawa decided to open his own grocery store catering to those needs.

His store, Altur, is at 10602 Ridgeland Ave., Chicago Ridge, in the strip mall just south of Pamela Lane. It’s small, but it offers Middle Eastern foods and a deli and even serves lunch.

Abuelhawa, 34, of Chicago Ridge, is new to the grocery store business.

“It’s a lot of work. It’s hard,” he said with a smile.

He formerly worked as a manager of a seafood restaurant.

“There aren’t many grocery stores like this. This is the first week and I hope it’s good,” he said recently when asked how business was in the early going.

Lamb meat plays a large role in Middle Eastern cuisine, so he’s sure to offer it in the deli.

It took him about four months to get the space ready.

“(We put in a) new floor, walls, ceiling, plumbing, everything. The village has been very helpful and the neighborhood is good, too,” he said, noting how Ridgeland Avenue is a busy road.

The store is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.



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