Monday, October 29, 2012

Land of Opportunity- a New Somali Cafe in Milwaukee

 Abdulhamid has this friend Abdirizak whom he's known since kindergarten.  They went to boarding school together in Somalia.  He's such a trusted friend and knows Abdul so well that he was my wali at our wedding.  They try to get together once a week over coffee or breakfast when time allows.
His wife is an incredible cook.  I love eating at their home.  You know how when you eat at someone's house and you say, "Wow this is so good!  You should open a restaurant!"?  Well, we ate out this weekend at a new cafe started by Abdirizak's wife.  She used to sell dinners out of her home for special events to friends, and was a supplier of meals to the local Somali taxi drivers.  She had been workingin the kitchen at a nursing home, but she left that job when another family suggested they lease a cafe together and they could each cook a few days a week.  Unfortunately, after the deal was cut, the partner decided to stay in Ohio, so now she's managing a restaurant and cooking with just her own family to help.  It's a lot of work. They found a small place in the university neighborhood of Milwaukee and opened their doors just a few short weeks ago.

Chicken and basmati rice with salad
Somali flag
It's called the Blue Star Cafe- named for the Somali flag.  They serve traditional Somali foods, including goat meat and basmati rice dishes.  Omar thinks he owns the place.  As soon as we walked in the door, he headed to the kitchen to let her know he wanted the usual plain spaghetti and french fries.  My husband and Omar have been there a few times already.  They are still working on the details- printed menus and such- but it is a great place to eat already, and all the tables were full.
Abdulhamid sat down to a plate of goat meat and rice, and looked at me and said, "this couldn't happen just anywhere", and we had the talk that we often do about how in America, it doesn't matter who you are.  If you have an idea for a business, you just do it.  Not that all businesses end in success, but he loves that you can at least try.  We hope their business will grow to be successful, but for the time being it's a lot of work.  All of their kids were helping out in the kitchen.  Abdirizak, who is a full time mail carrier, is there every day to help out.  Yes, with a lot of hard work, things may work out!
Their daughter helping out in the kitchen

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