Niagara Gazette —
What we have here is a busy, colorful, welcoming restaurant, serving great food; a business that adds to the synergy of the street; and local businesses assisted in formidable challenges by government agencies who are slowly creating a network of success throughout downtown. Not to mention we have Mandy, mother of four young boys who, despite her recent nursing degree, has found her passion creating a restaurant people can enjoy.
As a bonus, the business is serving the needs of a large group of tourists from India whose increasing presence in the region hasn’t really been addressed. Every summer we see more and more women in colorful, flowing dresses and men in turbans who, for some reason seem to be drawn to the beauty of Niagara Falls. And, it appears that when they come to our city, they prefer their hometown foods — which is why the Indian restaurants are popping up like the daffodils, some of them really good and some, not so much.
Tourist season has already begun for Zaika’s, which is getting busloads of guests who come for breakfast and/or lunch. This impacts every person who wants to see Niagara Falls flourish. The success of one business typically draws another, but the chemistry is complicated and requires delicate attention by people who care.
We have evidence of that caring through the help available to those who want to grow a business downtown. For anybody who can figure out how to do it well, success waves in the distance like a checkered racetrack flag.
A $20,000 grant from the state’s USA Niagara Development Corporation helped to pay for the renovations to Zakia’s and the city gave another $10,000. The old exterior, which Mandy described as looking like a beehive but not in a good way — was converted into a hip, elegant location that could be dropped right into Manhattan’s Soho. Since then, business has been up about 20 percent.