June 23, 2015 – The folks behind Yafa and Dametra Mediterranean restaurants in Carmel are expanding to downtown Santa Cruz to open Mozaic in the space formerly occupied by Louie’s Cajun Kitchen by the end of July. “We’ve always loved Santa Cruz. It’s kind of bohemian and very open to our music and our foods,” says Ben Khader, who’s partnering on the new project with Faisal Nimri.
Yafa and Dametra are both popular with Carmel locals as places to enjoy good food and music in a great atmosphere with a friendly, homey feel.
“We want to bring in the best of Dametra and the best of Yafa and we are calling it Mozaic because it’s a beautiful combination of many pieces,” said Khader.
Dishes will include their signature chicken, shrimp and lamb kebabs, served with fragrant rice pilaf and greek salad. Middle Eastern mezze platters will also be on the menu, along with an octopus appetizer and much more.
Khader, who was born in Jordan and educated at Cal Poly, promises reasonable prices and a kid-friendly atmosphere. He is also planning lunch specials for downtown workers.
Music is a big part of the Yafa experience and will be part of Mozaic, too. At Yafa, there is what Khader calls “a sprinkle of music” from a flamenco guitarist or piano player. The owners and waiters sometimes sing an impromptu song and occasionally everybody gets up and starts dancing.
The new restaurant—on Church St. just off Pacific Avenue—will feature a full bar and seating for up to 150 diners, though a remodel currently underway may reduce that capacity. Louie’s Cajun Kitchen closed in March after three years as a creole style eatery. Before that it was Clouds.