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posted: 1/7/2013 5:00 AM

Friends have own dream of falafel restaurant franchises

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  • Imran Kasbati, Shoaib Aziz, Henry Nuguid, co-owners of I Dream of Falafel restaurants. Co-owner Munaf Kasbati is not pictured.

      Imran Kasbati, Shoaib Aziz, Henry Nuguid, co-owners of I Dream of Falafel restaurants. Co-owner Munaf Kasbati is not pictured.

  • Jill Morgenthaler

      Jill Morgenthaler

  • Kathryn Brackett

      Kathryn Brackett

  • Fred Nueschen

      Fred Nueschen

  • Mike Theobald

      Mike Theobald

  • George Mayzell

      George Mayzell

  • Lindsey Schilling

      Lindsey Schilling

 
 

Four longtime friends, who came from Pakistan and the Philippines, started a restaurant chain in Chicago that has added its first suburban spot at 18 West 066 on 22nd Street in Oakbrook Terrace with more likely through franchising.

Shoaib Aziz of Chicago, Imran Kasbati, Munaf Kasbati and Henry Nuguid, all of Morton Grove, have started I Dream of Falafel, which offers freshly made Mediterranean food that is customizable to the customer's dietary needs such as vegan, gluten-free, low-fat, low carb and high protein. The food is also preservative-free, hormone-free and contains no trans-fat.

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Aziz and Nuguid met while students at Wheeling High School. The Kasbati brothers later met them through acquaintances during their college years, Aziz said.

"It's a lot like a marriage," said Aziz. "Here you have four guys working together in an office, so there's a lot of testosterone. But we understand the business and each other. We each have our own roles, so it works well."

The Oakbrook Terrace restaurant is the fourth of its kind with the others in the downtown Chicago area. The friends plan to open up to five more restaurants possibly this year, Aziz said.

While Nuguid is originally from Philippines, the others are from Pakistan. They admit they know what it's like to work hard and achieve their dream in the Chicago area, Aziz said.

Perhaps that's why they're marking Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 21 from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. by offering a free side of falafels for kids.

"We've had an amazing experience so far," Aziz said.

Retired colonel a keynoter

Retired U.S. Army Colonel Jill Morgenthaler, Illinois' first Homeland Security adviser, will be the keynote speaker on Jan. 21 at the 18th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast hosted by Benedictine University and the College of DuPage at 8 a.m. at the university in Lisle. Morgenthaler, who now lives in Des Plaines, was one of the first women to train as an equal with men in the collegiate Reserve Officers Training Corps scholarship program at Penn State University. She served as the first woman battalion commander in the 88th Regional Support Command, and was the first woman brigade commander in the 84th Division of the U.S. Army Reserves. She also worked as a peacekeeper in Bosnia and conducted evacuation operations for Kosovar refugees. Morgenthaler received the Bronze Star for her leadership in Iraq in 2004 and the Legion of Merit for 30 years of service in the Army.

First Hospitality has 'hire power'

Robert Habeeb, president and COO of Rosemont-based First Hospitality Group Inc., said the organization has been named one of Inc. Magazine's Hire Power Companies, a list that recognizes private businesses nationwide that have created the most jobs during the past three years. It ranks 50 overall with 424 jobs created between 2008 and 2011. The company also ranked sixth among companies headquartered in Illinois and third in the travel and hospitality category.

Volunteer turns 100

Longtime hospital volunteer Kathryn Brackett, who turned 100 on Dec. 26, will be feted by Adventist Hinsdale Hospital in Hinsdale during a gathering of a weekly sewing circle she's involved with on Tuesday. Hospital staff and others will visit with Brackett. She has volunteered with the hospital since 1978, logging about 5,500 hours, mainly as part of the sewing group.

FastTrack

Fred Nueschen of Woodstock is the new sales manager for Meritus Homes' latest new-home community, Reserve of St. Charles; and Mike Theobald of Libertyville is senior project manager for Ravenna of Long Grove, Meritus Homes' community of 20 single-family homes in Long Grove, as well as the builder's Made for You custom home program, including homes under construction in Park Ridge. Those communities are part of Deerfield-based Meritus Homes.

Palatine resident James W. "Bill" Carleton has been hired by The Peoples' Bank of Arlington Heights to focus on business development. Carleton previously worked at Harris Bank as private bank vice president. ... George Mayzell is now senior chief medical officer and chief clinical integration officer with Adventist Midwest Health in Hinsdale. ... Monica Sanders, corporate director of marketing for Richard Wolf Medical Instruments Corp. in Vernon Hills, said the company has introduced a slimmer, 3.8 mm, compact hysteroscope for use by gynecologists.

Hiroshi Yamaki, president of the Life & Health business unit at Northbrook-based UL, said UL acquired Everclean Services, a food safety audit provider, extending UL into the food safety industry. ... Tara Opalski, co-owner and marketing manager of Naperville-based Opal Enterprises, said the company was featured on NCTV17, the local Naperville cable channel, featuring the company's approach to home improvement projects.

Dean Carter, chief human resources officer for Hoffman Estates-based Sears Holdings, said the company scored 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Corporate Equality Index for the eighth year in a row. The index shows a company's commitment to equality through programs that reinforce inclusiveness of all employees and an understanding that diversity is a key business imperative.

Judy Stark, sales associate at Century 21 Kreuser & Seiler in Libertyville, recently earned for the 5th time the Century 21 system's Centurion Producer Award based on her 2012 sales. ... Lombard resident Lindsey Schilling joins PACT Inc. as service coordinator in its Community Services division in Lisle. ... Joseph R. Stackhouse has been promoted from chief operating officer to president and COO at American Utility Management Inc. in Lombard. ... The attorneys and staff of the Chicago firm of Rodriguez O'Donnell Gonzalez & Williams P.C. have joined Clark Hill Plc. Thomas J. O'Donnell lives in Lisle and R. Kevin Williams lives in LaGrange.

Wendell Gustafson, executive director of Wheaton-based Senior Home Sharing, said the organization received the most votes from the public for the Christmas tree it decorated for Cantigny Park in Wheaton. The Robert R. McCormick Museum awarded the group a $5,000 grant. Six other participating charities each received $2,500. ... Ben Warriner, vice president of construction, and Michael Costanzo, project manager, led the construction team for Morgan/Harbour, while James D. Jordan provided the architectural services for an office suite for The Society of Surgical Oncology within Columbia Center III at 9525 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Rosemont.

• There's more to business than just the bottom line. We want to tell you about the people that make business work. Send news about people in business to akukec@dailyherald.com. Follow Anna Marie Kukec on LinkedIn and Facebook and as AMKukec on Twitter.

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