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April 11, 2010



Mirza is a rude jerk. He's rude to customers. He's rude to his neighbors. I'll never eat there again.

Once while I was waiting for a table at Sound Bites, I went across the street for some coffee. Then I cam back and was seated at Sound Bites. When Mirza saw that I had had some coffee across the street while waiting, he came up to me and said: "What, my coffee isn't good enough for you?"

What boorish behavior! He begrudges any money going to other businesses in the neighborhood.


I stopped eating at Sound Bites a couple years ago. I became fed up with being treated so rudely. Who needs that?

I always have a great meal with great service at Ball Square Cafe.

The Sound

Mirza seems to have won the coveted title: French Toast Nazi.


The food at Sound Bites is better. It's been the 'best of boston" for a long time. I don't care if the owner is rude. Have you been to New York lately?


I guess the old saying "you can't make an omelette without cracking a few eggs" really is true when it comes to Somerville Breakfast Hot Spots! Fantastic reporting on a tussle that really **sizzles** (not unlike bacon! I digress)

P Smith

I have never experienced Mirza to be a jerk in my many visits to Sound Bites. Does he have a certain attitude when he's there? Sure but his attitude is not mean or nasty it is playful and it is also clearly a draw for most people. I also think it is a bit premature for people to take sides in this kind of a dispute when we clearly have very little real information about why this bad blood exists. I also feel for Mirza if only because Ball Square Cafe owes pretty much 95% of it's success to Sound Bites. Not only do they take over his old spot to open the same kind of business with one of his old chefs in charge, but they also have instant customers because of the line that forms outside of Sound Bites. Now clearly the food is good at Ball Square, or else people would not come back, but businesses rarely enjoy this kind of easy road to success and that ease is clearly thanks to Mirza's restaurant.


Wow is this article one-sided. The entire Soundbites team has always treated me like family when I'm there from Yazir to Jaime. The antagonistic move comes from the Ball Square cafe owner who often treats Soundbites regulars rudely. Next time you publish an article please try to find people on either side of the issue.


I've never been to either of these places, and I never will after reading this.

Act like adults!


I will never eat at Sound Bites because of all the bad stories I have heard about Mirza.

SoundBites Forever!

Totally disagree with Shamus. Yasser is part of the appeal - you just have to learn how he operates and deal with it. Totally worth it to enjoy his awesome food. Yasser lets you get coffee and drink it in line while waiting, so I'm not sure why you would buy it across the street.

Yasser is totally right in this dispute. Ball Square Cafe took over his business location and then stole every single one of his recipes. Moccia didn't count on Yasser re-opening right next door. Go Yasser!

I will never, ever set foot in Ball Square Cafe.


Shamus, all you had to do is follow the rules: while waiting for a table you are welcomed to go inside and get your coffee or drink of choice (in a real mug mind you, not some gross cardboard thing) and take it outside.

If this sounds too draconian keep in mind most restaurants have rules, be they embedded in our own culture, someone else's or otherwise, and are probably there to protect the small business.

Ron Newman

How many restaurants do you know of that let people bring in food or drinks from other restaurants?

mike krilivsky

Yassir is the man, I'm kinda sad he got knocked out. The other guy just sounds jealous and bitter of the success of Soundbites over the years.

"Moccia said Mirza instigated the fight by threatening to spit on his parents, who own Victor's - another restaurant on the block, and then actually spitting on Moccia and lunging at him. Moccia said he punched Mirza in the head in self defense, breaking a knuckle."
1. Where was Moccia? If Moccia was in front of Soundbites, then it's most likely he instigated the whole thing.
2. Punching Mirza in the head for self defense will never fly - good luck with that.


Maybe he (Yasser) was kidding about the coffee? People come for the food because it is good. It sucks that the businesses can't get along but I have always been treated well there and will continue to frequent it!



BS Cafe

Who cares what the mayor thinks?


This is so disappointing to read. I live down the street from these businesses and have suggested Sound Bites to so many people. I love the food and I've always had excellent service there. How completely disappointing to read that two grown businessmen can't exist next to each other. I personally have had very nice interactions with Mirza but I know that I will now think twice before going there. Shame.

Shea Mullaney

Finally, I hope people will stop patronizing that restaurant, Sound Bites. I've witnessed Mirza taking pleasure in humiliating people.

It'll be a better lesson for that terribly rude man if we speak by denying him our dollars rather than unleashing our fists.


geezus, you folks vowing never to eat at either place sound like a bunch of pu$$ies! Both places are good, both do a brisk business, and you know who wins? The consumer! You and me! I like the idea of two closely related competing establishments next door to each other - it keeps them both on their toes and makes them better! So Yasser got K.O.'ed? He's still laughing all the way to the bank. I've found Mike to be nothing less than gracious each time I've been to his place. Ball Sq? Sound Bites? Why take sides? Enjoy them both!


Sound Bites is a Soup Nazi!
No Soup For You!!!!!!!!!!!

Yolanta Kovalko

Yasser has the biggest heart, when my husband's son died in a tragic accident, Yasser not only catered our wake for free, he did it in few hours notice. He is a sweetie.

P Smith

To Joy and others. It would truly be a shame if you let your own "nice" personal interactions with someone get trumped by some sensationalistic blog post.


I wish that the reporter had dug a little deeper to find out about the dispute and its origins. The owner of Victor's, Moccia's dad, owns the space that Ball Square now occupies. While SoundBites occupied the space, he consistently raised the rent on SoundBites to try to drive Mirza out (presumably so his son could move in and poach the customers Mizra had worked so hard to keep coming back). The owner of Victor's is a first class jerk and his son is right there with him. Mirza put up with the rent increases for a long time, but was able to move into the El Guapo space after it went out of business. This did nothing but anger the Moccia family and upped the tensions. I've seen Moccia trying to talk people into coming to Ball Square while waiting in line at SoundBites...NOT the other way around. There is a reason that SoundBites has a line outside: its consistently great food AND the larger than life personality of Yassir. He always has treated me kindly but yes, is brusque. This is New England after all. We're kind of known for our "strong" personalities. If you want saccharine niceties, travel south of the Mason-Dixon line!


I went into Soundbites at an off time and got seated at at a table with a friend.. 15 minutes later, after waitstaff had streamed by without a word, we walked out and went next door to Ball Square.. I'll never go to Soundbites again.. That Ball Square guy and everyone else there is so nice, and the food is amazing.. F Soundbites and the horse they rode in on..


follow the "RULES"? Last I checked this is a free country. We can buy a cup of coffee where we want, can't we?
He didn't say he brought the coffee into Soundbites. Yes, that can make a difference. But what's the big deal? At least he was getting his food there (and possibly more coffee!)


I've been a customer at both of these retaurants for a long time. I started going to Ball Square instead of Sound Bites because the attitude at Sound Bites is terrible. I understand that some people find it charming and part of the appeal a la "Soup Nazi" and all. That was fun in my younger years, but now...not so much. I get enough attitude in the rest of my life, I don't need to pay someone to serve me it with breakfast, rush me out the door so they can get the next customer in, and expect me to tip them and smile about it (and come back for more)..regardless of how good the food is.

Obviously the business model works for Sound Bites, so I can't really fault it and I don't expect them to change, but it doesn't work for me, so I don't go there anymore. The food at both places is excellent, so I'll go where I also find the service to be excellent (or at least WAY better).

All of that said, that this devolved into a street fight is just ridiculous, regardless of "who started it". Everyone needs to grow up.

lopes antonio

i love you som mordidas


Yasser is a sheep in wolf's clothing. He is a genuinely nice guy, a good business man, and extremely loyal. His "rude" act is a show for his loyal customers and a shrewd business decision. His business thrives on turnover. People who slowly sip their coffee and read the paper at peak hours on Sunday interrupt his business model. He understands that, and makes a show of enforcing his turnover rule. Big deal. Those who get it, get it. If you go on a Monday morning, you can sit all day and chat with him if you like.

Victor has been trying to put him under for years. I don't blame Yasser for not wanting to be civil. Just like Yasser's rude behavior is a show, so is Victor's "civility." Behind the scenes, he's as ruthless as they come.

Cheers, Yasser! Sound Bites is still, and always will be, the best breakfast in town.



I'm with Mike! I enjoyed the food at Sound Bites but wasn't willing to put up with the lousy service and poor attitude. Now that Omar is working for Ball Square, there's no comparison.

longtime fan

I've been going to SoundBites a few times a year for about ten years. Yasser has always been welcoming and kind to us. I hope the SoundBites/Ball square feud can be resolved.



When I first moved to Somerville 5 years ago, I tried Sound Bites first and first impressions mean everything. The food was good, but the service was AWFUL! I wasn't even finished with my food when they took it away. I'm sorry when I go out for Sunday breakfast, I'm not looking to leave in 20 minutes...

With that said, I have been going to Ball Square since then and I absolutely love the service there. I'm never rushed and Mike is seriously one of the most genuine people I know. He is nice to all of his customers and all of his staff and he provides excellent food. Look SoundBite fans, theres a reason why Omar left...



P. Smith and Katie have got it right. The Soundbites model was swiped! And even if Omar's cooking next door, Soundbites still makes a better breakfast. I'll take my pancakes with a side of attitude and a smile. Props to Yasser.


Many years ago when Sound Bites was in its old location, Mirza came to the table to take our order. We were a table of four women. I needed another moment to look at the menu and I very politely asked him if I could have one more minute. He started screaming at me in the middle of restaurant. "You may not have another minute. You must order now!" It was beyond rude. I truly believe that he has a social disorder.

Also, to the people who may still be eating there, he "stores" the check pad in the back of his pants when he is in between orders. Look next time, you'll see that I'm right. He slides it into the top of his pants around the derriere region. I presume that he does it for easy access, but it is totally gross.

All that aside, Ball Square Cafe has much better food. It's true that the atmosphere is as funky, but the food is exceptional. Also, look into the kitchen at BSC. It is always very clean. Best breakfast around by far.


Yasser pisses off people who are childlike and rude themselves. Clearly he isn't the typical American-born shop owner who wraps the customer in bubble wrap, cuts a hole in the bubble wrap and wipes their backsides no matter how asinine their behavior.

He operated as a tennant in the buliding that houses Victor's for years. According to him, they weren't very nice to him as a tennant. They stole his cook out from underneath him and forced him out. They are just pissed because he took his show next door, blows them out of the water and makes more bank than them.

Truth is, there are very few businesses in greater Boston that people have consistantly lined up for over the last ten years.

Go by there any Saturday morning. 30 deep!!

As for the fighting, Paint a line on the sidewalk and have a cop walk the beat along that stretch of Broadway.

Problem solved.


I've never actually eaten the food at Victors, but I assume if he hired the cook from SoundBites that it's pretty good. I think "stole the cook" might be an exaggeration since the article says Omar joined Victors as a partner. Maybe he'd have stayed if he could have been a partner at Soundbites.
But like I said, I've never eaten at victors and probably never will. I like the food at soundbites, I like Yasser who always remembers my wife and I no matter how long it's been since the last time we walked in, who often hooks us up with a free fruit bowl, and, if that wasn't enough, I like supporting the business that was kicked out of its location and constantly fought against a competitor doing its best to put them out of business.
Of course, a quick look around Ball Square shows that Kelley's and True Grounds are still going strong and usually packed at any given time during the breakfast rush, so there are plenty of customers to go around.

tina rose

Welcome to America- the land of oppurtunity. Read the story and if your smart you can figure it out- It is typical to raise rent- that idiot from sound bites didn't want to pay more, what does he do buys a building (interesting). It's called free enterprise, the Moccia's owned the building and decided to open up a breakfast place, next to there Deli. The only person that would be angry over the situation would be the owner of Sound Bites, doesn't want the competition and from my own experience, he is a rude arrigant, cheap skate. If he only payed a couple hundred more dollars in rent (he wouldn't have any competition. I love this country

Dave Scott

This country hates your spelling.

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