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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Zahi Hawass Visits Tut’s Hub | | Queens Gazette

Zahi Hawass Visits Tut's Hub

Tut's Hub welcomes archaeology superstar, Egypt's former Minister of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass, for an informal meet and greet dinner. Zahi Hawass is not the typical film trope of an archaeologist. Without a leather jacket, fedora, or whip, he is armed only with a magnanimous smile and friendly, joking demeanor that masks a sharp wit and an eagerness to share what he has to say. The excitement at his presence is palpable at Tut's Hub (30-91 Steinway Street), as patrons oohed and ahhed from the moment of his arrival. One young man in a group of friends shouts "I love you!" as he passes, and it is not hard to see why. Sitting at a table of friends and colleagues, Hawass is at ease and garrulous; bringing smiles and laughter to everyone in the vicinity.

Hawass was Egypt's Minister of Antiquities for 12 years, work that he says he misses, but is proud to have done. These days his focus is back on writing and Egyptology, with a little divergence for the celebration of Tut's Hub on July 22.

"I came all the way from Egypt to see this restaurant," said Hawass. "It's a great place, and this event is a wonderful promotion for it."

Musing further, he would later comment: "It's nice to see something Egyptian in Queens."

With its authentic cuisine and pleasant, attentive staff, Hawass is right on the mark. Owner Khaled Abdelhaleem – who has served UN ambassadors in addition to Hawass, and the throngs of Queensites that flock to his fabulous restaurant – has done something special in the creation of Tut's Hub. The slice of Egypt on Steinway Street has been welcomed into the Astoria community with open arms.

When asked what he planned to do next, Hawass answered succinctly. A new excavation project involving digital imaging of the Pyramids, in order to map them, and the purported secret chambers in the tomb of Tutankhamen, more accurately. In addition, his new book, "The Pyramids: Magic And Mystery," is on the horizon.

What's next for Tut's Hub? If all goes as it has, a legacy that even the pharaohs would envy.—Bronwyn Davila

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