When Parviz Rezaian ran the kitchen at a Steak and Ale many years ago and his cousin Mahmoud asked him to start a new Persian restaurant in Warr Acres, Rezaian said, “Sure.” But there was one problem: Neither knew how to cook Persian food.
Through trial and error, and a magical ability that a lot of chefs and restaurateurs have regarding flavors and taste, the menu at Travel By Taste developed and has gone strong for more than 20 years.
“I love cooking,” Rezaian says. “I have this gift of knowing what people like, what flavors they like. So, I started to read recipe books on Persian food.”
With the help and partnership of Rezaian’s wife, Hoda, the business has grown from a small Mediterranean-style grocery with two or three tables to an even larger grocery area and a dining capacity large enough for catered events and private parties.
“Hoda is up front and she takes all of the orders,” Rezaian says. “She knows what’s good, too, and what people enjoy. If there is something I have made that she does not like, she tells me. If a regular customer comes in and forgets to order an extra slide of something that he typically orders … she tells me. We work well together.”
Travel By Taste’s staff anticipates customers’ needs and tastes when it comes to Persian food, but success also comes by walking to tables and talking to diners. Rezaian says when you own a business of any kind, you have to have a one-on-one relationship with customers. It may be a brief “Hello, how was your meal?” or a 20-minute discussion about life and business.
“The connection we have with our customers is very important. That’s why they keep coming back … well, and for the beautiful food, too,” Rezaian says with a laugh.
Travel By Taste rocks classic dishes, such as chelo kabob (ground beef with saffron rice) and joojeh kabob (chicken marinated in lemon, onion and saffron), as well as homestyle favorites near and dear to any Persian food lover’s heart, such as classic gheimeh (beef, onion, yellow split peas and crispy potatoes) and gormeh sabzi (fragrant green herb stew with beef and red kidney beans).
The restaurant’s market features herbs and spices, jams and syrups, condiments and pickles, delicious Persian breads, pastries, tea, rice and cheese.
Traveling around the world, tasting as you go, has been made easier where Persian food is concerned in Greater Oklahoma City. All one has to do is travel to Warr Acres and taste the magic.
Nooshy-Joon. (Eat well.)
4818 N. MacArthur Blvd.; Warr Acres, OK, 73122; travelbytasteok.com