An American Tale
The Pig Trail Bypass Cafe is famous for its owner and his award-winning Hooshburger
This is a uniquely American story.
Hooshang Nazarali came to the United States in 1977 from Shiraz, located in southern Iran. He arrived with a student visa in hand, ate a cheeseburger and began studying in eastern Texas. Texas was a perfect choice because Hoohsang had been heavily influenced by highly popular 1950s Western movies shown in Iran, so much so that Hooshang believed the United States was like the Wild West. Soon Hooshang learned otherwise and embraced the reality and diversity of America. A year later, in 1978, the Iranian revolution began with the Ayatollahs eventually becoming the new government.
When Hooshang’s mother insisted he remain in the U.S., Hoosang followed her wishes.
“You never know where life is going to take you,” Hooshang said. “If you are wise, you take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves because you get led to places and sometimes a life you would never have otherwise imagined, much less experienced.”
The situations were stressful in Iran because of the revolution and in the United States due to the beginning of the 1981 financial crisis. While working for a drug company in Texas, Hooshang took a personal exploration trip to Arkansas and found himself in the tiny community of Crosses, not far from Huntsville. A small convenience store/restaurant was for sale. Hooshang saw the opportunity and Crosses became his home where he soon married and raised a family with four children.
Hooshang is a man with three passions. He is an activist for democracy in Iran, a dedicated family man and an American entrepreneur. An earmark of how deeply this rural section of Arkansas has accepted Hooshang is that he not only ran but was elected for a term as a Justice of the Peace.
Crosses is so rural that Hooshang’s business is the heart of the community, and its only business. Not knowing how to pick a name that would capture the flavor of his new home, Hooshang asked a friend, Jerry Franklin, who combined Arkansas’s love of the Razorbacks with Route 16 just outside the front door. The business was named Pig Trail Bypass Café.
People soon discovered Hooshang to be warm, generous and charismatic. Many residents make daily trips to the small business for a cup of coffee, a bite to eat and some conversation.
Hooshang remembers a time when a man claiming to be a minister stopped to buy gas only to discover he had forgotten his wallet. Hooshang gave him $20 worth of gas, figuring he’d seen the last of it. Nonetheless, the man stopped by the next Sunday and paid him back. During the brief interview, a FedEx man stopped for a late lunch, someone brought him a knickknack to add to his memorabilia collection and several locals stopped by for a quick purchase and chat.
“I performed plastic surgery on the building after I bought it,” quipped Hooshang.
Still enamored with the Wild West, Hooshang installed a cactus garden in front, gave the exterior a Western feel by using rough cedar and decorated the inside with license plates, catchy signs, an Elvis guitar and other memorabilia. Country music and Mexican food are available Friday nights when the pool table is in especially high demand, while Sundays feature down-home country fried steak. Make no mistake, however, because the American cheeseburger Hooshang first ate became an award-winning Hooshburger, a cheeseburger infused with Persian spices accompanied by home fries and perhaps a fried pie made locally in West Fork.
Paraphrasing Queen, we want it all and we want it now. The Pig Trail By-Pass Café is not the place to go with that attitude because everything is made fresh as you walk in the door. The wait is worth it and eating in the homey environment means not having to wait to get home first. The breakfast menu includes a Western omelet, but don’t forget the biscuits and gravy. Another tasty entrée is the Philly sandwich, paired with Jeorylyn’s homemade eggrolls or Brenda’s fried mushrooms. There simply is no wrong choice.
The secret in Crosses is out. The burger was first put on Thrillist.com for the best burgers in each state. Then the nationally-acclaimed Southern Living magazine wrote about the burger only to be followed by a YouTube video last year featuring a University of Arkansas documentary about successful American immigrants.
Hooshang is an outspoken member of the Council of Resistance of Iran and has made numerous trips to Washington to tout the cause as well as keeping in touch with federal Arkansas politicians John Bozeman, Tom Cotten and Bruce Westerman.
“I am in my heart thankful to the American people and my adopted mother homeland for their open and welcoming arms,” Hooshang said. “I hope my fatherland is soon free so I can take some of my Arkansas friends and my family to see the beauty of the Iranian land and people for themselves.”http://www.ozarksfn.com/2020/05/04/an-american-tale/http://www.ozarksfn.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Hooshburger-1024x539.jpghttp://www.ozarksfn.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Hooshburger-150x150.jpgOzarks RootsArkansas,HooshburgerThe Pig Trail Bypass Cafe is famous for its owner and his award-winning Hooshburger This is a uniquely American story. Hooshang Nazarali came to the United States in 1977 from Shiraz, located in southern Iran. He arrived with a student visa in hand, ate a cheeseburger and began studying in eastern Texas....Terry RoppTerry Roppterrymerrill@hotmail.comAuthorOzarks Farm & Neighbor Newspaper