Café Nemooneh Closes Its Doors
Family-owned Persian pastry, sandwich shop shuts down, marking the end of a three-generation family business that spanned from Iran to Northern Virginia.
After two and a half years in the Village Green shopping center, Café Nemooneh, a specialty Persian pastry, sandwich and coffee shop, is shutting its doors.
Not only does the Monday announcement mark the end of business at the Vienna shop — located along a popular route for the area's Iranian population as it travels to and from the Iranian Community School on Maple Avenue — but also the end of the Maleki family's five generations in the food business.
Owner Sam Maleki, whose grandfather first opened up shop in 1960 on Shmeran Street in Tehran, Iran, said he couldn't overcome the issues that also plagued the recently-shuttered Plush Gelato: The rent was too high, and the customers — though loyal — didn't come by often enough.
"These past two years at the cafe was an amazing experience, the people that I got to meet and became friends with has been great and for that I will always be grateful," Maleki told Patch.
Maleki had to close his Chantilly shop, which opened in 2005, last year.
And now he's doing the same in Vienna. He's offering 50 percent off almost all of the nuts and grocery items in the store until they're gone.
Someone has already come to purchase the leftover equipment, Maleki told Patch, so Monday is effectively the shop's last day.
The shop started by selling specialty coffees and nuts and its traditional pastry, the "nemooneh." But at any given time, the cafe had 15 to 17 different types of baklava and dozens of other traditional Middle Eastern pastries — not only from Iran, but from Lebanon and Turkey, too.
Over time, the shop grew to include gelato, a variety of specialty sandwiches and soups and more recently, beer and wine. It offered Wifi and took catering orders, which swelled especially around major holidays.
But it ultimately wasn't enough to sustain the store.
While Maleki wouldn't trade the experience for anything, he said, he doesn't know if he'll return to the food business.
He's soon start a federal job and is beginning to study for a graduate degree, he told Patch.
"For every single customer that I served I say thank you and hopefully I get to have an espresso with you on the other side of the counter in the near future," Maleki said.
This article has been updated.