Burger Naan owner excited to serve up Indian and street food in DeKalb

Newest downtown restaurant in DeKalb fusing Indian and street food tentatively expected to open Sept. 12, owner says

Burger Naan is seen Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023 in downtown DeKalb.

DeKALB – A new spot dubbed Burger Naan fusing Indian and street food will be the first of its kind in DeKalb when it opens its doors this week, its owner said.

The establishment, 121 N. Second St., recently received a temporary occupancy certificate from the city and is awaiting clearance from the DeKalb Fire Department to open for business.

Owner Syed Nasar said he is excited for the community to get a taste of what Burger Naan has to offer.

“I’m waiting eagerly to open and start serving the DeKalb community,” Nasar said.

From gyro cheeseburgers and poutine to lamb biryani and butter chicken, Burger Naan has a lot to offer patrons.

Nasar said vegetarians will be able to find their pick of options as well.

“I’m going to be adjusting to make them happy as well,” Nasar said.

I’m waiting eagerly to open and start serving the DeKalb community.”

—  Owner Syed Nasar

Nasar said he doesn’t feel extra pressure for Burger Naan to succeed given the novelty of the restaurant’s concept, menu and offerings.

“There is zero stress because I’m doing this like the way I said 36 years I’ve been into culinary,” Nasar said. “I know what people want. … I’m thinking of growing, like making a franchise in the future, so that is my vision for taking one at a time. This is my first location. Hopefully, everything goes fine. If people like the food, I’m here to serve the community.”

Nasar, acknowledging that his establishment was formerly occupied by a longtime DeKalb staple in Hillside Restaurant, said he understands that he may have big shoes to fill.

In March, the owners of Hillside Restaurant decided to retire and close up shop. The Hillside had been open for almost 70 years.

“I love to take the challenge,” he said. “I was the general manager for KFC, Taco Bell [and] Pizza Hut, as well. One thing I know is if the food is good, everybody says it’s the talk of the town. Something’s new in the community, we always, I think, want some changes. I think it’s going to work out. …

“The previous owner, I think, he did 38 years, I believe. He did a great job with keeping his customers. So, on the same page, my customers are going to be around my whole life. I’m big into customer service. I want to see that everyone’s happy.”

City Manager Bill Nicklas said he looks forward to visiting the establishment once it opens for business again under new ownership.

“I’m sad to see it closed,” Nicklas said of the former Hillside. “I’m happy that the couple that were running it have an opportunity now to do some other things. But now we’re looking forward to the new restaurant and the new ownership. We wish them success. It’s got a great location. I’ll be a customer.”

Burger Naan is tentatively expected to open for business Sept. 12.

Nasar said the restaurant experienced a delay that set back the establishment’s original opening date.

“According to the city standards, we are upgrading our restaurant because the restaurant was here 38 years,” Nasar said. “We have to update everything to the standards. That’s why it got delayed. Now everything looks fine. We’re only waiting for the fire department and their approval.”

Burger Naan plans to operate from 11 a.m. to midnight Tuesday through Sunday. The establishment will be closed Monday.

For information, visit burgernaan.com.

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