“I was born and raised in Bangladesh. My mom was a housewife who made sure my brothers and I studied, and my dad was a businessman. He worked hard, but always found time to take us on trips. He passed away when I was 15; we didn’t realize how good we had it until he was gone. My mom made sure we didn’t lose sight of the importance of education. She wanted me to study in the United States. I attended the University of Arkansas for a year, then transferred to UT Arlington, which gave me a full-ride scholarship. After I graduated, I got a job in information technology. But it wasn’t for me; I didn’t want to sit behind a desk. I got a job with a restaurant company and fell in love with the industry. I’ve always been in love with food. Growing up, I’d sneak out of the house, ride my bike to buy baked goods, and come back like nothing happened. But I was also fascinated by what happened behind the counter.
“In 2005, my business partner [Mike Hoque] and I founded DRG Concepts, which encompasses Dallas Chop House, Dallas Fish Market, Wild Salsa, and Chop House Burger. When my mom found out that I had studied computer science but ended up in restaurants, she almost fell out of her chair. But now when she visits me, she sees me happy in what I do, and she tells me I made the right decision. We will launch our fifth and sixth restaurant concepts later this year. I feel privileged that I’m in Dallas, and just thinking about what’s in store for us gives me goosebumps.”