Zand’s Persian Food & Market
Zand’s Persian Food & Market is the traditional Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Foods & Pastries
Imported Ethnic Bread Kosher Products Preserved Lemons Catering
At Zand’s, traditional Persian and Mediterranean dishes are offered at lunch and dinner time for eating in, taking out or catered events. Exotic spices, cooking oils, and other unique products are also available.
Owner Monier Attar operated a pastry shop in Iran for years. Persian Pastries in California
In 1984, Monier moved her family to the US. After a few years, she opened Zand’s in the East Bay City of Albany.
At Zand’s, Monier showcases her handmade pastries and middle eastern dishes, while also offering Persian, Lebanese and Kosher ingredients for customers to use at home.
Whether eating in, taking out or buying ingredients for cooking at home; you will always find unique foods and ideas at Zand’s.
Homemade Baklava Platter
Mediterranean & Middle-Eastern Food Sandwiches:
Famous Falafel Chicken Breast Olivieh Kotlet Kookoo Sabzi Persian Mortadella Bologna Hummus & Cucumber Pastries & Cakes:
Cream Puff, Napoleon, Napoleon Fruit Puff, Roulettes, Chocolate Eclairs, Pistachio Baklava, Persian Almond Baklava.
Imported Teas & Spices Imported Jams & Halva Imported Exotic Olive Oils Ethnic Breads Pomegranate Paste & Juices Kosher Products Homemade Pastries & Baklava Catering Special Events
Back when Monier Attar opened Zand’s Persian Food & Market in 1988, finding traditional Middle Eastern ingredients, like harissa and pomegranate molasses, in the Bay Area was not as easy as it is today. Even foods that are now commonplace, like hummus, weren’t readily available. Zand’s 1401 Solano Ave. (at Carmel), Albany Which is why Attar, who moved to the United States from Iran in 1984, decided to open a little Middle Eastern market in Albany.
“I was doing something very new,” Attar said as she mixed a fresh batch of tabouli in the back of the deli. “Markets didn’t carry our merchandise, our specialities. I started when nobody made these things.” It was her father, who was visiting from Iran, who first convinced her to open the shop. He found a 500-square-foot retail space at 1021 Solano Ave., close to where she was living at the time. He lent her the money to open a store where Attar could sell Iranian merchandise and her homemade pastries. Ben Gould D4 300×250 10/17 – 11/6 “As soon as I opened the shop, Iranians came.
We got really, really busy,” said Attar. They were so popular with the community that one day the fire department arrived and asked customers to leave the space — there were just too many people in the tiny store at once. People started to suggest she expand into a bigger space with a kitchen to make and sell the Mediterranean and Persian food.
She listened, and, in the spring of 2001, Attar moved into her current space at 1401 Solano Ave. 1401 Solano Ave. space is Zand’s second location. It will close on June 30. Photo: Sarah Han But now, after 30 years, the end is near for Zand’s, at least at its current location. Attar will close the neighbourhood market and deli on June 30.
“The landlord doesn’t want to renew my lease,” Attar said. “He told me he wanted to go in a different direction.” This isn’t the first time Attar was forced to close one of her businesses. In Iran, Attar ran a successful French pastry shop for several years, but the Iranian revolution that started in the late ’70s ended her business and changed her life. After Attar refused to abide by the new regime’s laws that obligated women to wear hijabs, the government closed her shop in 1982. Two years later, Attar packed up her two young kids and fled for California.
“The feelings I have today are the same as when the government shut down my shop,” Attar said with tears in her eyes. And Attar is not the only one who’s upset about Zand’s closing. Attar said customers who’ve heard the news have been streaming in over the last few days, lamenting the closure and encouraging her to continue the business elsewhere.
As we were speaking, John Dyckman, a longtime customer who saw the signs in the windows announcing the shop’s impending closure, walked in just to thank Attar for her service. A psychologist with an office across from Zand’s, Dyckman said he’s been coming in for the last 25 years.
She plans to offer catering services and cooking classes, and if she can find the right person to help her and an affordable space, she’d even consider opening a new shop in the future. “For 30 years, I did it for my community, my customers, my father — that was his wish. After that, I’m not going to give it up,” said Attar.
“I love my job, I really do.” But before the next chapter of Zand’s begins, Attar plans to take a much-needed break.
She works at Zand’s seven days a week and is looking forward to her first summer off in 30 years. She plans to spend it with her grandchildren and visit her 92-year-old mother in Iran.