Prabhas Loved Our Baahubali Haleem | Grill 9 Owner Tells Sakshi Post

 - Sakshi Post

This iconic dish even attracted the likes of pan-Indian star Prabhas, who enjoyed the taste of the Baahubali Haleem

As of today,  Grill-9 sells about 2000 shawarmas and 5000-6000 haleem boxes a day

Grill-9 won the Times Food Award for the best biryani in 2017

By Amartya Smaran

Meet, Khalil Ahmed, the super successful owner of Grill-9 restaurant located in Karkhana, Secunderabad. Grill- 9 has been in the business since 2004; famous for its iconic shawarma, biryani, and haleem, looks like there is nothing that is going to stop its glorious run.

As far as he could remember, Khalil Ahmed always had an incredible passion for food and a natural inclination toward hospitality. This enthusiasm drove him to start Grill- 9 in 2004 with the support of his dear uncle, Azmathullah Khan, and cousins Nadeem, Aman, and Sameer.

Mr. Khalil Ahmed takes immense pride in saying that Grill-9 restaurant was the first to start selling Shawarma in Hyderabad. “Initially, we started selling authentic Arabic Shawarma. Hyderabadis just couldn’t fathom the taste of authentic shawarma. It was too bland for their taste buds, so we decided to spice it up the Indian tandoori way, which seemed to work pretty well with the crowd. The word spread like wildfire, and people fell in love with our Shawarma.” says Khalil Ahmed.

Grill- 9 has a loyal customer base; we give utmost importance to our dear customers. Our motto is to deliver high-quality food for a reasonable price. As of today, we sell about 2000 shawarmas and 5000-6000 haleem boxes a day.

The Struggle & The Rise

Khalil Ahmed wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He comes from a middle-class family and went through his fair share of struggles on his way up. He says, Grill- 9 went through a tough time from the year 2012 to 2016; it was during this time, that he purchased a restaurant adjacent to his small joint to expand his business. Due to the loopholes in the previous owner’s business dealings, Mr. Khalil had to bear the brunt of the losses incurred by the restaurant which put him in a difficult position. In the face of aridity and disenchantment, Khalil Ahmed held his head high and worked hard to resolve the issues related to the restaurant which he purchased.

It was only after winning the Times Food Award for the best Biryani in 2017, that he gained the much-needed confidence to do better. After winning the award in 2017, Khalil Ahmed made a conscious effort to further improve the taste of the dish by adding rich flavor to the Biryani. 

He rather recognized the potential of building trust with the customers than making money out of the business by starting a Haleem joint during the holy Ramadan season in 2017. 

Here’s what he did; Haleem consists of two main ingredients, namely meat, and wheat. He observed that the best restaurants selling good quality Haleem always had a higher meat ratio than wheat. By maintaining a higher ratio of meat, sellers tend to achieve a rich quality of Haleem. Khalil Ahmed followed this simple yet costly method to create the iconic Grill-9 Haleem.

“Poatle Ka Gosh” (male goat meat) is exclusively used for Grill-9 Haleem to achieve a rich pinkish color and flavor. To those of you wondering, why not a female goat? Unfortunately, a female goat doesn't provide the same quality of meat (You may talk to a butcher for further clarification).  The restaurant never compromised on quality for making a quick profit. Despite facing two horrifying lockdowns imposed by the government due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Grill-9 successfully managed to rise from all the challenges thrown at it.  

Grill-9 Haleem is served in different varieties: Baahubali Haleem (named after the film Baahubali), Supreme Haleem, Nalli Haleem, and Special Haleem. This iconic dish even attracted the likes of pan-Indian star Prabhas, who enjoyed the taste of the Baahubali Haleem. Khalil Ahmed expressed that he was elated on hearing the news from Prabhas’ close friend. “Moments like these, motivate me to do better in life,” says Khalil Ahmed.

Advice to Youngsters:

It is only when a child takes a couple of rough falls from the bike that he/she learns how to ride it. My only advice to youngsters is, ”never underestimate yourself, and don’t ever go low on confidence.” With no background in the restaurant business/ hospitality industry, I was able to set up a successful restaurant through sustained perseverance and passion. My end goal is to expand Grill-9 all over India, says Khalil Ahmed.  

Grill-9 is located in Karkhana, Secunderabad. A few years ago, they have opened their second branch which is situated near SD Road, Secunderabad. 

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