A family tradition

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Tommy Zakeer, owner of Zakeer’s Restaurant, along with his girlfriend, Tara Grossnickle, pose in the newly redecorate restaurant recently with photo of Zakeer’s parents, Bob and Marie, the original owners of the restaurant which was first opened in 1961 at a nearby location. They are located at 425 Second Ave. S.

Zakeer’s Family Restaurant, a Fort Dodge tradition since 1961, is now under the care of new owner Tommy Zakeer, son of founders Bob and Marie Zakeer.

Zakeer has recently made a few changes to the menu and with the help of his girlfriend, Tara Grossnickle, made some decor changes to honor his parents memories.

“We’ve added a few things and took a few things off.” he said. “We added a smothered hashbrowns with sausage gravy with two eggs your style.”

A new addition to the menu also includes the “Hangover Burger.”

“It’s a hamburger on Texas toast with cheese and sauteed onion,” he said.

-Messengers photo by Hans Madsen
In addition to many long time favorite menu items, guests at Zakeer’s Restaurant in Fort Dodge will also be greeted by newly redesigned menus and decor. Owner Tommy Zakeer and his girlfriend Tara Grossnickle pose proudly in the dining area. Grossnickle did the design work.

But does it work, Zakeer has not tested it.

“I don’t know,” he said with a smile.

Customers will still find their favorites though.

“We still have the hot beef and hot meatloaf,” he said “Everybody loves our clubs and reubens and we’ve added a Rachel which is a turkey reuben.”

The restaurant moved to its current location at 425 Second Ave. S. in 2003 after the city government bought the building at First Avenue South and Eighth Street and demolished it in 2001 to make room for future development.

The Zakeers were well known in the Fort Dodge community, serving as parade marshals for the annual Frontier Days Parade one year.

Their baked goods, pies and other treats, were well known and still make mouths water.

Tommy Zakeer has been carrying on the tradition.

“I’ve been doing all the pies since we moved here.” he said. “I always make pies for the people that want pies for Thanksgiving.”

Zakeer weathered the period of time when customers had trouble reaching the restaurant during construction of the Crosstown Connector project.

He remains grateful for the regular customers who battled the rubble and who continue coming in for coffee, meals and piece of pie.

They’ve become much like extended family.

“It’s nice to know I have the people that are the regulars,” he said. “I wouldn’t be here if not for them.”

He’s also hoping to be able to host holiday parties at the restaurant this year.

The new decor is meant to honor the memory of the founding Zakeers, that includes many framed photographs of the couple that many customers recall fondly.

“The long time customers definitely remember both Bob and Marie,” Grossnickle said. “We want to keep their memory.”

She said her design goal was to keep a warm comfortable home like atmosphere.

She’s also proud that what gets served to the customers is sourced as locally as possible.

Zakeer will also be honoring veterans on Tuesday, the first day after Veteran’s Day they’re open.

“Meals are half off for veterans on Tuesday.” he said.

They are open from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday. 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday.