Phoenicia is Houston's Premier International Food Market
Phoenicia is Houston's premier international food market, specializing in imported foods from more than 50 countries. The store is located in the heart of downtown on Austin Street between McKinney and Lamar, adjacent to Discovery Green Park, and surrounded by a vibrant mix of restaurants, soft goods retail, art, and public programming. Phoenicia Houston
Since 1983, Bob and Arpi Tcholakian, formerly of Lebanon, have helped introduce Houstonians to a wide variety of Lebanese, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern cuisine at their 2,500-square-foot Mediterranean-style delicatessen. Initially, the family rented space to store the imported goods they received, but quickly the demand for these hard-to-find items overwhelmed their limited warehouse space, and eventually, the store expanded across the street.
The deli is known for its signature recipes, including shawarma wraps, grilled eggplant, and walnut baklava. In addition to providing prepared meals, the deli also offers a full range of fresh meats, cheeses, and hummus.
It's a happy-go-lucky place to shop and dine. In the front of the store is a huge selection of halal meats and a variety of seasoned meats that are featured in the restaurant. There's a small produce section with a large selection of both local and exotic fruits.
There's also a large bakery, which produces some of the best pitas in town. There are also many fresh-baked artisan bread to choose from, as well as European pastries.
While the store has grown substantially, it still maintains a cheerfully bare-bones look and feels. There are no magazines or cold drink refrigerators in the cash register area, and displays are simple and efficient.
Despite their growth, the Tcholakian family is still proud to be locally owned and operated. The entire family works together to make sure every aspect of the store is always running smoothly, and that their customers are satisfied.
Zohrab Tcholakian, the CEO of the Phoenicia Specialty Foods chain, comes from a long line of family members in the food business, working for his parents within their small corner shop markets in Lebanon. His experience with the oil industry helped him gain a deep understanding of how the business operates, and he has worked closely with his wife to create the stores that have become an institution in the community.
As the manager of Phoenicia Specialty Foods West Houston, Moses Abayan contributes to the purchasing of more than 10,000 products specializing in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean imports and produce. He is also responsible for the daily management of the 100-plus employees in this location.
He has a degree in Finance and Energy Trading from the University of Texas and brings this knowledge to the Phoenicia Specialty West Houston staff. During his free time, he enjoys spending time with his children and grandchildren.
After his children started school, Zohrab left his job in the oil industry to focus on building the Phoenicia Specialty food chains. He currently oversees operations and customer service for both the deli and the market.