Asad Chaudry began cooking as a form of friendly competition with his father, Malik Chaudry. Now, as co-owner of Selena's Bar & Grill in Woodbridge, he offers halal Spanish, American, and Latin American food to his customers.
The Chaudrys have owned and operated La Luna Restaurant & Lounge on Route 1 in Woodbridge since 1998, and opened Selena's in February of 2012.
Asad is the chef at Selena's, and runs the restaurant with his older brother Adil, who handles the finances.
"We grew up in the restaurant business," Adil said. In creating Selena's, they revamped the former waffle place in Smoketown Plaza, taking out booths and cutting down interior walls to make it more spacious.
Now the restaurant has two sections: a dinner table section ideal for seating families, and a bar. Selena's just acquired its liquor license.
While La Luna's has more of a bar atmosphere, "it's more family-oriented over here," the Chaudry brothers said of Selena's.
Selena's was named for Selena, the singer-songwriter who was murdered in 1995. Like the singer, who was born to a Mexican-American father, the restaurant draws from a blended heritage in offering both Spanish and American food.
Asad credits his father with teaching him a wide variety of ethnic foods.
"I like creating something that nobody's ever tried, and leaving a flavor in someone's mouth, like, 'Oh, that's good.' I like being in competition with my dad. For me to make something and create something that people like, and he tries to critique it and he can't, that's a success," Asad said.
His mother specializes in Indian and Pakistani food, but Selena's doesn't offer Indian food because it would then be in direct competition with another Indian restaurant in the plaza.
One of Asad's favorite dishes at the restaurant is the Peruvian lomo saltado, but he also recommends the burrito, the waffles, and the beef bacon to any new customers.
"I like anything with flavor," he said.
Selena's can cater your next event. To learn more about Selena's, visit their Facebook page.