Dedham Square has gone through a number of changes over the years, most recently with the Dedham Square Improvement Project. And the Paradise Café, now having served patrons in the area for 16 years, has endured several of those changes.
Cafe owner Ali Koushan said that business has been going strong in the last year despite the construction in the Square. During the fall, he offered to help out with new parking fees along the street, and he said that his service and commitment to customers has paid off in the long run.
Aside from serving a wide variety of sandwiches, soups and beverages, the Paradise Cafe also hosts functions and events, from musical performances each weekend to a monthly open mic night, as well as meetings for local groups and birthdays.
Dedham Patch caught up with Koushan recently to talk about how business has been for the cafe as of late, as well as checking in on the top favorites for food and drink.
To stay updated with happenings at the Paradise Cafe, follow the business on Facebook or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information on functions or promoting artwork in the cafe.
Dedham Patch: How are things going with the cafe?
Ali Koushan: Excellent. The mood is so good. This was kind of like a new business when I started. In the past year, I just did my numbers and they are fantastic compared to the year before. I'm way up, 30 percent.
Dedham Patch: What do you think is the reason you've done so well?
Ali Koushan: Service. I have so many community events happening here. There are groups of people constantly here. The service that I've been giving to this community; it's been excellent, I have not had a problem at all.
Dedham Patch: If there was one thing Dedham could do to help businesses in the area, what would it be?
Ali Koushan: To be honest with you, all I can say is I appreciate what they have done, and I would love for them to continue to do so and support us as they've been doing it. It's been fantastic.
Dedham Patch: What is your top seller, both drink and food?
Ali Koushan: My turkey stuffing, somehow, it got famous. It's the best seller and it doesn't matter if it's Thanksgiving or not. It sells, all through the year. Drinks, my mocha latte is the common drink. I think those are good, and the cappuccinos. We sell loose leaf tea in the pot; people love when we bring it to them. I've always been doing that.
Dedham Patch: You've been selling beer and wine for about two years now. How has business changed for you since you started doing that?
Ali Koushan: It gives the chance for people who come in with their families and they go, "Oh, you can have a glass of wine?" We're not like a bar. It's a coffee shop, but yes, you can have a beer.
Dedham Patch: How has the music and events portion of the business been going since you started offering it within the last two years?
Ali Koushan: Music has been great, fantastic. People have constantly asked if we could put music on. At the time (two years ago) I was applying for my beer and wine license. When that got done, I waited two months and then after that it was actually encouraged. And ever since I've been doing that. It started to work really great. It took a while for people to get it. There are fantastic singer-songwriters here in your backyard. And I've done a lot of stuff like that, I have them play here. Every Friday and Saturday I have something new, and it's not just one type of music.
Dedham Patch: What do you expect or hope for in 2014?
Ali Koushan: I'm going to have extended hours. I may start opening earlier.