The Ali Baba Chain is Growing, and Has the Cool New Names to Prove It

Categories: Food News

Ali Babba Tabouleh.jpg
Eat tabouleh one day a week for good health
Ali Baba is blowing up like freshly baked pita bread. Yesterday I was at the Lakewood location picking up the weekly dose of tabouleh that has become my restorative meal of choice when I noticed the menus had changed. The font the menu items were printed in was different and on the back of each menu was the word "Terra," which is not "Ali Baba."

I asked the waiter who was standing at the host stand what was up, and he said the name of the restaurant was changing. He turned out to be wrong, but as I dug around I was surprised to find out how much this restaurant group is growing.

A publicist for the group and told me the new name is a marketing effort to modernize the Ali Baba brand. When owners and brothers Adam and Jalal Chanaa opened the Fort Worth location in January 2010, they thought the name Ali Baba had gotten a little stale. They kept the cooking as it's always been at the other locations but changed the name to Terra for the new spot.

Terra did really well, and the brothers were convinced the new branding was part of the reason. So they changed the Irving location of Ali Baba to Terra, while making plans to convert their remaining restaurants in Lakewood and Richardson. Except the sales in Irving remained flat. Terra, it turns out, may be a great name for a new restaurant, but it won't get more customers to come to an existing Ali Baba. They decided to scratch the conversion process and only give the name Terra to new locations of the restaurant.The Terra name remains at the Irving location as well.

New menus should show up at the Lakewood soon, and everything will be just like it always was, but in the meantime, GRIP, the fast-casual concept by the same group, has been adding new locations, too. Their first opened in October 2012 in Preston Center and already locations in Arlington and in Denton have sprouted up. That's seven restaurants for the brothers in total.

Location Info

Ali Baba Cafe

1901 Abrams Road, Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

GRIP Mediterranean Grill

6030 Luther Lane, Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

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2 comments
JohnRoberts007
JohnRoberts007

Adam and Jalal are idiots for attempting to change the name. You are Arabs so don't try to use a Latin name. That is what makes Ali Baba unique. Leaving the 1905 Greenville location was the worst thing you guys could have done. Your revenue was high and your overhead was extremely cheap. You spend the rest of your life trying to reinvent what you had on Greenville. Unfortunately, that will never happen.


Sorry,


JR 

Gipson
Gipson

I know it's the same dudes, same recipes, all that, but true story: I lived less than 3 minutes from one of the first (if not THE first) Terras at Water's Creek in Allen, and I would still drive the 15 minutes or so to go to Ali Baba in Richardson.

There was a slight difference in food quality, and a NOTICEABLE difference in price. Also, Terra didn't have Ali Baba's buffet, which is the best reason to go to Ali Baba, because you get a wide selection of their menu, and the quality is just is good as ordering any one item as on entree. Actually, in many cases I find the buffet quality to be better than the evening entrees.

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