A new grill opened Sept. 4, on the Cumberland “Strip” adding a fresh new alternative to the regular fair offered by the chain restaurants. Across from McDonald’s between FedEx and Walgreen’s at 1723 Cumberland Ave. is Aladdin’s Grill with their own parking area in front.
The owner Amin Alhalabi, who is Jordanian, came to Knoxville in 1987 after studying at Hiwassee College in Madisonville. He spent several years in Dubai where he worked as a civil engineer before the economic climate changed and he returned to America.
Amin has a passion for cooking and is demonstrably happy hearing customers rave about his food. He formerly owned Tony’s Pizza and Grill in Karns.
Aladdin’s Grill offers 12 combos, 14 different sandwiches, 10 appetizers, four different salads, and nine plate dinners plus soups and desserts. All of them are authentic Mediterranean originals. The most expensive item on the menu is a Mix Grill, served with rice and veggies for $9.99. Most lunch combos are less than $7. The portions are generous.
“I chose this menu because it’s different from anything else on the strip,” said the owner. Amin is familiar with UT as well. He earned his civil engineering degree on “The Hill.” “People get tired of the same old thing everyday. I want to offer something different.”
Definitely different, in a good way, many Aladdin’s Grill combos contain up to 10 mild spices, red wine, vinegar or Rosemary. “We don’t peel the shrimp. Why? It keeps it fresh, doesn’t let the nutrients escape and helps keep it warm if you get it to go,” Amin explains. It’s those little details that will keep customers returning to Aladdin’s Grill. Combos include Philly Steak or Chicken Sub, Grilled Chicken, Souvlaki Chicken or beef, shrimp scampi served over a bed of Saffron Rice, Grilled Portobello Mushroom for vegetarians, Chicken Shawerma Wrap, Kofta (Mediterranean meatball) wrap, fish-and-chips, fish scampi with saffron rice, and an Aladdin burger that is “indescribable,” according to Jeannie, in our legals department. In fact, she would not stop eating it long enough to answer when we asked. “Undoubtedly, the best burger,” was her final answer.
The Steak Shawerma Wrap (Combo No.1 $6.41) seems to be the most popular. Larger than a big burrito and filled with small steaks and veggies with a Mediterranean sauce Amin mixes. The shrimp scampi was more than Pat, one of our graphic designers, could handle at one meal. She also said Aladdin’s Grill is now on her “regular eating place” list.
Aladdin’s Grill, 1723 Cumberland Ave. also caters and delivers in the immediate area. The hours are Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 6 p.m. to midnight. Friday and Saturday the night hours are extended to 2 a.m. For more information call (865) 247-4289 or visit the website www.aladdingrill-ut.com.