Over the course of 30 years, Paymon’s Mediterranean Cafe & Lounge has become an institution on Maryland Parkway, nearly as well known as the university it neighbors. Recently, founder and owner Paymon Raouf announced that original location will close February 15 at 9 p.m.
“I cried for 12 hours. I couldn’t stop myself,” Raouf tells the Weekly. “It’s very hard and very hard for the staff, who have been here a long, long time.” Raouf says staff will be transferred, not laid off.
The given reason for the closure: Prolonged construction and roadwork cut into the very tight profit margins of an independent business. Raouf also cited challenges stemming from food delivery apps such as Grubhub and Amazon Eats. He implores folks to support local, independent businesses by frequenting them in person.
Raouf, 56, came to Las Vegas from Iran in 1987 by way of a Catholic Charities refugee program. A year later, he opened Paymon’s as a Mediterranean grocery, which eventually grew into a popular meeting spot. “I want to thank [patrons] from the bottom of my heart and let them know they are part of my life and the staff’s life,” Raouf says. “Life is not the same without this location.”
Fortunately for lovers of Athens fries, Paymon’s has expanded into the suburbs with locations in the southeast Valley (8955 S. Eastern Ave.) and Summerlin (8380 W. Sahara Ave.). The menu samples from Greek, Italian, Persian, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines with options like pita sandwiches, moussaka, hummus, dolmas and spanakopita, and the pillowed hookah lounge is another key draw.