A popular Hendersonville restaurant is back open this week following the sudden passing of its beloved owner.
News of Ayman Albert’s death on Jan. 27 spread quickly on social media sites like Facebook with dozens sending condolences and posting remembrances of the affable owner whose Jumbo & Delicious restaurant has received regional acclaim for its over-stuffed, hand-crafted burgers.
Albert, 53, leaves behind his wife and co-owner Viola, and two sons Danny and Kevin.
Many who knew and worked with Albert say that while the mouth-watering menu items were the initial draw, it was the owner’s genuine, gentle spirit that kept customers coming back.
A native of Egypt who studied medicine at Cairo University, Albert and his wife moved to the U.S. in 2000.
Although the two lived comfortably in their native country, they decided they wanted to raise their children in a country more tolerant of Christians, Albert told the Hendersonville Standard in a February, 2019 interview.
“We decided as Christians we wouldn’t let our kids live the same life we had lived,” he said. “As Christians nobody would play with you, nobody would talk to you. We didn’t want our kids to go through what we went through.”
After owning a few gas stations where his burgers were wildly popular, Albert opened Jumbo & Delicious in January of 2013 – subletting space in a strip mall on Walton Ferry Road.
He would arrive at 4 a.m. each day to craft each burger by hand himself.
In March of 2014, Jumbo & Delicious moved into a bigger location within the same Walton Ferry Road strip mall. Albert opened a second location in Greenbrier in December 2017.
The restaurant expanded again in January of 2019 by moving to the current location on Imperial Boulevard.
Chris Denton remembers the restaurant’s early beginnings.
“I did his signs and t-shirts and we got to be real good friends,” said Denton. “Home of the stuffed burger – I put that on the window. He was doing stuffed burgers before anyone else.”
Albert’s sudden death followed recent surgery on both of his feet, according to Denton.
He said the owner will be remembered by many as a hard worker who genuinely cared about people.
It wasn’t uncommon to see Albert go from table to table checking on customers and soliciting their feedback.
“He was very outgoing,” Denton added. “He was just a great guy. He took pride in his food and he really cared about people.”
Davis Carr worked at the restaurant from 2013-2015, and stayed in touch with Albert after moving to Nashville.
“He impacted so many people,” said Carr. “He made it very personal and I think that’s why everybody is so upset about his passing.”
Carr started a Gofundme page to help Albert’s family as soon as she heard about his death. The page has received more than $8,000 in donations.
“I didn’t know what else to do so I started the page,” she said. “It’s earth-shattering.”
Davis said she’s not surprised the community has come together to support Albert’s family.
“Any person who knew him knew that he was the funniest, sweetest, kindest man,” said Carr. “He always put everybody else in front of himself. That’s what made him happy – making everyone else happy.”
To help the Alberts family with expenses related to Ayman Albert’s death: