Mike Daryoush, an Iranian immigrant who started Moby Dick House of Kabob 30 years ago and grew it into a successful chain, has died at 66 years old. He died of heart failure Thursday.
Daryoush opened his first restaurant in Bethesda, Maryland, in 1989, but the restaurant’s business struggled with a traditional breakfast and lunch menu, until he added a traditional Iranian clay oven to the kitchen and put fresh pita on the menu.
It wasn’t long until he changed his restaurant’s menu to a Persian-influenced one.
“With a heavy heart and great sadness, we regretfully announce the passing of the founder and president of Moby Dick House of Kabob, Mike Daryoush, late on Thursday,” said Ned Daryoush, vice president, and Alex Momeni, director and chief development officer, for Moby Dick House of Kabob.
“He left a big void not only with his family and friends but also in our community.”
The second Moby Dick location opened in Georgetown in 1992, and Daryoush continued to expand. There are now two dozen locations in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.
The first employee Daryoush hired still works for the chain.
Daryoush is survived by his wife, Suzan, and four sons, Ned, Josh, Aarod and Aaram.