8 Iranian-owned businesses to support in NYC
Amid the women-led revolution in Iran, immerse yourself in Persian culture with this list of Iranian-owned restaurants, shops and services.
Nov 16, 2022
You’ve seen Iran in the news, and are hopefully aware of the country’s current women-led revolution. However, if you are not familiar with our culture and traditions, look no further than New York City, home to one of the largest Persian populations outside of Iran. There are plenty of passionate Iranian entrepreneurs who own local businesses across the city.
Whether you’re Iranian or not, this list of restaurants and services can offer an opportunity to connect with our culture and enjoy classic Persian hospitality.
Ravagh Persian Grill
171 Madison Ave.
A majority of Iranians in New York City are familiar with Ravagh, and for a good reason. The most popular location is located right next to the Empire State Building, just 10 blocks north of NYU’s Gramercy Green Residence Hall. Ravagh is known for its generous portions of classic Persian cuisine, which are perfect for sharing and family-style meals. My go-to order is Khoresht Fesenjan — a stew of crushed walnuts with chicken cooked in a pomegranate paste and served with basmati rice.
125 Elizabeth St.
This independent fragrance studio in the heart of Nolita is inspired by founder Shabnam Tavakol’s Iranian roots. Tavakol is the daughter of Iranian immigrant parents who escaped the revolution in 1979 and were lucky enough to settle in the United States. Her company’s name — which was inspired by her family’s story and good fortune — stems from the word qismat which means divine destiny in Farsi. Each scent is crafted in New York City and you can even create your own custom perfume. Kismet Olfactive’s unique fragrances are available both online and in store.
Ray’s Candy Store
113 Ave. A
Serving late-night treats in the East Village for more than 45 years, Ray’s Candy Store has a remarkable story. Asghar Ghahraman, known in the neighborhood as Ray Alvarez, came to the United States in 1963 after abandoning the Iranian navy and jumping off a ship docked on the East Coast. Without papers, Ray worked odd jobs to make ends meet, and opened his shop in 1974. Now at age 90, Ray still serves customers with a smile every day. Help keep this iconic Iranian-owned business open by stopping in for a milkshake and deep-fried Oreos.
198 Allen St.
This Iranian-owned, plant-based restaurant and tea house centers around the Persian culture’s value of community. This charming Lower East Side spot serves homemade sourdough bread and a full espresso bar, priding itself on its brunch menu. Beloved Cafe hosts community gatherings, musicians and dances, encouraging people to come together.
25 Bogart St.
Brought to Bushwick by Iranian chef Ali Saboor, Eyval is the new sister restaurant of the famous fellow Brooklyn spot Sofreh. Eyval serves modern small plates influenced by traditional Persian flavors, such as the Scallop Kabob and Roasted Squash & Feta Salad. Dimly lit with an artistic interior, the restaurant’s intimate vibe also makes for the perfect date night.
Miraj Healthy Grill
120 E 34th St.
Miraj Healthy Grill serves traditional, no-frills Persian food in the Murray Hill neighborhood. This restaurant is known for its welcoming and hospitable atmosphere that makes guests feel at home, whether they are Iranian or not. If you are dining on a budget, enjoy Miraj’s filling $14 lunch special.
254 Broome St.
Ending Soon is an Iranian-owned vintage clothing boutique on the Lower East Side. They specialize in hand-selected timeless clothing ranging from Yohji Yamamoto to Jean Paul Gaultier. Originally founded in Paris, Ending Soon now has a storefront here in New York City. If you are especially interested in unique archive pieces, I recommend stopping into this Lower East Side hidden gem.
111 W 17th St.
Shiraz Kitchen serves classic Persian dishes and Mediterranean sharing plates in the heart of Chelsea. Its music and ambiance blend the modernity of the city and the traditions of Persian culture. This restaurant and wine bar is just a short walk from The High Line and a great spot for large groups. When it’s time for dessert, the saffron ice cream is a must.
Contact Roksaneh Salartash at [email protected]