Combining Mexican, Mediterranean and American quick cuisine, Aladdin Hatamleh opened M&M Grill in 2011 as a small takeout concept next to his father’s 30-year-old car body shop.
From hummus and shawarma to enchiladas and chile con queso, the menu is an expression of Hatamleh’s upbringing.
“I grew up in both cultures; my mom is Hispanic of Mexican descent, and my dad’s from Jordan,” Hatamleh said. “I grew up loving Mexican food, and then my dad would cook the Mediterranean side in the house.”
When the grill first opened, it served fast-casual Mexican and Mediterranean food. But it quickly made an accidental addition—loaded burgers, now one of M&M’s most popular items.
“I sat down here in the dining area, made myself a specialty burger,” he said. “I was eating in public view, and our mailman came, and he delivered the mail, and he looked at the burger and said, ‘If you ever put that on the menu, let me know.’”From then on, the double-patty burger with cheese, ranch drizzle, and battered and fried jalapeno and onions became a staple.
A major part of the grill’s clientele comes from the Medical Center across the street, he said.
“Our lunchtime has a lot of nurses, doctors, all kinds of medical professionals come in here,” Hatamleh said.
A second location opened five years ago in the South Belt area, but following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, the site closed in November 2021, Hatamleh said. However, the original restaurant is expanding with plans to nearly double the amount of seating by the end of 2023, he said.
“This location has weathered the storm; it was pretty rough in the beginning of COVID[-19], but we’ve bounced back,” Hatamleh said.
6921 Almeda Road, Houston
Hours: Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., closed Sun.