November’s – ‘The Timelessness Issue’ – Download Now

Having dominated the F&B space in the UAE for the last five years with The MAINE Group, Joey Ghazal is going global. Here we discuss the MAINE’s expansion to London and all of the hard work that has gone into reaching this incredible milestone.

Can you talk us through your career?

I’ve been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to open restaurants all over the world – Montreal, Beirut, Dubai and now London. My career is the sum of all my experiences, all the people I’ve worked with and all of the concepts I’ve worked on over the last 20 years. I love to challenge myself and to challenge the people around me to dream bigger and to aim higher.

Your career in the restaurant industry spans multiple regions over 20 years. What do you think it takes to create such a long-standing career in such a competitive industry?

Perseverance and patience. Twenty years a long time and it’s naïve to think it was only filled with success. I’ve failed more than I’ve succeeded, but not being afraid to fail sometimes is a big part of competing.

 

 

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What first inspired you to relocate to this region?

My family has been based in Dubai since the mid-70s and I myself lived in Dubai until 1995 before moving back in 2013. I have always considered Dubai home and I’m enormously proud to have contributed in small part to the dining landscape of the city.

What sets the F&B scene apart in the UAE from the rest of the world?

Dubai has one of the most competitive restaurant scenes in the world, with the highest amount of restaurants per capita of any other city in the world. It attracts the best brands, the best operators and the best chefs from around the world. You have to operate at an extremely high level to stand out.

What inspired you to launch The MAINE Group?

The MAINE is very much a homage to my childhood and the summers I spent on the East Coast, but it’s also a restaurant that I myself want to be a regular at. Each iteration of the MAINE represents a different part of my personality and my journey as a restaurateur. The MAINE Mayfair is the evolution of the MAINE into something bigger and more experiential.

You now have three incredible venues here in Dubai. What has the journey to get to this point been like?

The MAINE feels like home for a lot of people, so I feel an enormous amount of responsibility to protect the integrity of the MAINE and strike the balance between growing the brand and staying true to the ethos of the original brand.

And now you’re expanding abroad, which is an incredible milestone. How does it feel to be one of the first to take a Dubai homegrown concept global?

It is a big milestone and it’s quite humbling. Adapting the concept to this Georgian townhouse in Mayfair was no small feat.

Can you talk us through The MAINE Mayfair in London?

The MAINE Mayfair is located in a Grade II listed Georgian building on Hanover Square in Mayfair. Divided across three levels with five distinct rooms and over 350 seat capacity – each part of the house has been carefully designed to evoke a sense of theatre and discovery. The MAINE Mayfair will have all of the elements that people have come to expect from The MAINE – excellent quality brasserie favourites, warm service and ambience, with just the right touch of revelry and mischief – always resonating with a sense of event and celebration, ensuring it’s a mainstay in the dining landscape of Mayfair for years to come.

Why did you choose Mayfair as the location?

Hanover Square is the bridge between Soho and Mayfair and is quickly becoming a cultural hub with art galleries, Vogue House and the Mandarin Oriental residences that borders New Bond Street, Oxford Street, Regent Street and is a short walk from Berkeley Square.

What’s the history behind the venue – 20 Hanover Square – you chose?

It is the only surviving Georgian ‘Grade II’ listed building in the area, much of which was dug up for air raid shelters during the Second World War, the townhouse, which dates back to 1720, was the former homestead of James Graham, the Duke of Montrose.

What would you say is the secret to success when it comes to creating a brand which stands the test of time in the restaurant industry?

Provenance, authenticity and quality. Give your audience an experience.

 

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To date, what have been the biggest challenges The MAINE Group has had to overcome?

As if opening our first international outlet in the middle of a global pandemic was not enough of a challenge, the travel restrictions, the global supply chain crisis, the staffing shortage in the UK and the economic effects of Brexit have made this one of the most complex times to be in the restaurant business.

This is ‘The Timelessness Issue’ – how would you define this?

Being timeless is about always striving to be authentic.

This year we celebrate the UAE’s 50th Anniversary – what makes this region unique to you?

There’s no other country that has accomplished as much in so little time.

November’s – ‘The Timelessness Issue’ – Download Now

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