AMSTERDAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Zubayer Ali has been planning to open an Indian restaurant in the Town of Amsterdam since 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic put that on hold for a few years, but the restaurant is finally almost ready to open.

Zoobear MC will be located at 4879 Route 30, inside Perth Plaza. According to Ali, the restaurant’s name is a play on his first name.

Ali is from Bangladesh and moved to the United States when he was 10 years old. It’s always been a dream of his to open an Indian restaurant. He eventually wants to turn Zoobear into a franchise concept.

The restaurant will be make-your-own-bowl style. The menu features your choice of biryani (rice) or chickpeas, chicken tikka masala, curry, or vegetables, as well as two appetizers such as naan bread. Visitors will be able to dine-in or take their food to go.

“I’m keeping the popular dishes basically,” said Ali. “Indian restaurants usually have pages of menu. I’m just narrowing that down to six, seven or eight dishes.”

Ali and his family have been living in Amsterdam since 2016. If they want Indian food, they currently have to travel to Saratoga Springs or Albany, he said. Zoobear will be the first Indian restaurant in the Amsterdam area.

“I want to give back to the community,” said Ali. “That’s my goal in life. To provide something to the community, that’s humbling for me.”

Ali is hoping to open Zoobear at the end of February after he gets the proper permits and finishes up some interior work. The restaurant will be open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday.