Restaurant of the Week: Babylon

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Babylon, 205 E. 2nd St. (at Locust), Pomona

Pomona is where you go for Mexican food, obviously, but the city also has a minor specialty of Mediterranean food. North Garey has two competing Lebanese restaurants in the same shopping center, while downtown has two such restaurants three blocks apart, thanks to the mid-January opening of Babylon, which joins Aladdin 2, its Second Street competition.

Babylon is on a corner in Pomona’s Antique Row in a space that’s seen a number of short-lived uses in recent years; it was most recently the Hardy Cafe.

Babylon, however, is an ambitious venture. The owner, who used to run Aladdin in Glendora (the inspiration for Pomona’s Aladdin Jr.), sunk a boatload of money into making the restaurant a showpiece. The interior is elegant, with white tablecloths and custom oak carving in the ceiling and columns. Outside, there’s wraparound sidewalk dining.

They do a $10 lunch buffet on weekdays with a long table of items, laid out on open platters and in steam containers, like a hotel banquet or Kiwanis luncheon. In other words, no sneeze guard. But I won’t complain, because the items were uniformly good on a recent visit. A seat outside on a warm afternoon made for a relaxing meal.

There’s a fountain a few steps away and a second fountain across the street. Do those count as the rivers of Babylon?

Babylon is open late, until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights and midnight the other days. On weekends they’ve been offering entertainment — bellydancers or singers — with a meal for an all-inclusive fee of $35 or more.

Too rich for my blood, but you ought to try a weeknight dinner (pictured is the chicken kebab, $13 and very good) or the lunch buffet. It beats the one at the more casual Aladdin 2 down the street.

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  • DAve

    Pomona is the place for Mexican food?

    Wish I knew what you meant here as most of the places I’ve been have been damned nasty and certainly nothing I’ve experienced remotely approaches say Carmen’s in Azusa.

    PLEEZE o pleeze make mention of maybe even one or two of these iconic eateries of which you speak — especially if they have takeout.

    *OK La Paloma and El Ranchero on Foothill are pretty good but nothing stunning really.

    I got two carne asada burritos from Santana’s that had bones in them.

    [Los Jarritos, Nancy’s Tortilleria, Mexico Lindo, Jicamex, Tijuana’s Tacos, Tropical Mexico and Juanita’s, to name a few. But everyone’s tastes differ. FYI, El Ranchero is in Claremont and La Paloma is in La Verne. — DA]

  • George Homsi

    Hello David,

    Allow me to introduce myself, I am George Homsi and the owner of Babylon Restaurant along with my brother Kenny who you met with.

    First, I want to thank you for visiting our restaurant recently and for the nice article that Larry Egan was kind enough to deliver to us. David, we have been open now just over a month and we continue to improve and build to our menu and services. The lunch buffet will have more choices as well soon and for the same price of under $10. We are now developing an excellent catering menu and will provide delivery services as well.

    David, our weekend set show menu package is not mandatory, we are trying to make it affordable to customers to enjoy a full line of appetizer plates, dinner and enjoy a belly dancing show for under $35 pp, but that is an option they do not have to accept. Our menu is open if one decides not to take the set show menu, just an fyi..

    Bottom line is that we are excited to be in Metro Pomona and are trying very hard to establish our name and reputation here. I look forward to meeting you soon. I can be reached at (909) 524-9187 if you have any questions.

    George Homsi