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International market, deli opens at former Citrus Heights buffet site

Royal International Market is now open at 8036 Greenback Lane. // M. Hazlip

By Mike Hazlip—
Another vacant storefront in Citrus Heights has now been filled, as Royal International Market opened this month at 8036 Greenback Ln.

The store offers a variety of products from the Middle East and Asia, and is a family owned business managed by three brothers. Two of the brothers, Murteza and Muhammed Jafari, spoke with The Sentinel about their new business.

At just 15, Muhammed Jafari helps his older brothers communicate with English speaking customers and translated for 28-year-old Murteza Jafari. The business is a combination of a market and deli along with a restaurant that will open soon. Murteza Jafari said the family opened the business to serve the community in a location that is closer to home.

The family was driving 25 to 30 minutes from Sacramento to get the Persian food and ingredients. Muhammed Jafari said the market stocks food from Afghanistan, Turkey, Iran, and India.

“It’s not for one country, it’s for everybody,” Murteza Jafari said.

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The biggest challenge in opening the market has been in getting items to stock the shelves, Jafari said. The months-long permit process was also a challenge for the business, he said.

Jafari is now working to open the restaurant portion of the business. He has set aside part of the space and added decorative lighting along with tables and chairs to accommodate diners.

With his parents originally from Afghanistan, Jafari was born in Iran and then moved to Turkey before coming to the United States. Jafari said the United States has more opportunity than his homeland.

“Every country has a similar situation, the U.S.A is better,” he said. “You can open a business, the U.S.A. gives you any chance for business.”

Royal International Market joins Valencia’s Carniceria Taqueria to offer authentic ethnic foods in the shopping center at the corner of Greenback Lane and Sunrise Vista Drive, near Fair Oaks Boulevard. The shopping center is part of Sunrise Marketplace, and is also home to City Appliances and Matthew’s Mattress.

Sunrise Marketplace Executive Director Kathilynn Carpenter said she expects the business will have a positive impact on the area.

“This is a great addition to the food options in the District, the store/restaurant offers a unique variety of authentic middle eastern food,” Carpenter said. “We are excited to see the long vacant space filled with this exciting new business.”

Related: Investigation deems fire at former Citrus Heights sushi restaurant ‘suspicious’

The building has sat vacant since Flaming Mountain buffet closed its doors. A fire damaged the building in 2021 with fire investigators calling the cause “suspicious.”

A shopping cart was found near the origin of the fire and Police Lt. Michael Wells told The Sentinel in a Feb. 2021 email that “it is unknown if the fire was intentionally set to ignite the building, or possibly transients utilizing the cart for a fire to keep warm.”

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