The Michigan Avenue business opened April 2. Since then, business has been “phenomenal,” according to Brian Thompson, manager of Nawal’s Mediterranean Eatery. The company offers a number of products, ranging from Mediterranean lunch and dinner to gourmet cupcakes and desserts.
“She [Nawal Braden-Swart] offers daily lunch and dinner specials, which are Mediterranean entrées. Everyday it’s a different entrée,” Thompson said. “People come in looking for a menu; she doesn’t have a menu. It’s what’s on the board is what’s served, which has really taken off quite well. People have gone on Facebook, and we have almost 1,000 likes just within two weeks.”
Not only have people liked the company on Facebook, which can be found by searching ‘Cupcakes by Nawal’ in the Facebook search bar, but many have commented on the page, explaining what they like most about the food, business as well as the people.
Many of the posts found identify the cupcakes offered as “amazing,” as well as “the best they have ever had.” Thompson agreed that the cupcakes are one-of-a-kind.
“Our cupcakes are emptied by noon. We’re doing between 200 to 500 cupcakes per day that are going out the door,” Thompson said. “Her cupcakes are Michigan known; she’s even been on television a couple times for her cupcakes.”
There are a number of flavors offered to people in order to satisfy different tastes. However, Braden-Swart can’t seem to pick a favorite flavor.
“I love them all,” Braden-Swart said. “They are like my kids, you know? I can’t pick a favorite kid. Every one of them is like my own.”
Although Braden-Swart has had offers from the Grand Rapids area, she chooses to stay in Big Rapids and give back to her community. The Egypt native moved to the Reed City area in 1987, and soon after moved to the outskirts of Big Rapids.
“This is my hometown, and I really, really would love for everybody to know where I come from,” Braden-Swart said. “I miss my food and I like to cook.”
According to Thompson, Braden-Swart wanted to open a shop many years ago. She, however, always had obstacles in her way. He said she always took it as a sign that “the good Lord was saying she was not ready for this.”
“All of these little things, all her life, she has always had obstacles thrown in her way, but this time nothing stood in her way,” Thompson said. “It just kind of flowed into what it is now, and she is forever grateful for it. She could never imagine just opening two and a half weeks ago, that this is a level she would be at. She said ‘if the good Lord wants us to do it, then we’ll do it.’”
Nawal’s Mediterranean Eatery is open Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from
9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m., and dinner begins at 5 p.m. until close.
“It’s taken me almost 20 years to have this done, and if you really have a dream, and this is for anyone, if you want to be successful at anything, it doesn’t matter what people tell you,” Braden-Swart said. “I want to make people happy. This is the only thing I know, and it’s one of the most important things to me.”