My father (Baba, in Arabic), Bishara Salloum, left the Middle East and came to the United States with his wife (and my mother) Claire in 1957. Leaving friends, family, a rich culture and a key position for a major airline, my father and his Uncle became family pioneers to this Brave New World...
...eventually helping scores of relatives come to this country to lead better and safer lives. My parents brought with them their passion and hope, and their love for and intimacy with Mediterranean food.
My father started as a dishwasher for a local food establishment, and within a few years became a lead accountant for a division of Chrysler Corp. But his love for cooking and entrepreneurial spirit directed him to set out once again.
In 1965, he purchased a Carvel Ice Cream Store franchise (immediately making me one of the happiest and most popular kids in the school) that evolved into "A La Mode", a local cafe. My Dad and I discussed community-friendly cafe's, and what one could look like with foods specializing in our heritage. What I found noteworthy about this family-run, ice cream-rich business were the people that came in. Smiles were bountiful. People came to take a temporary holiday, even if for an hour or so.
My siblings, George, Rose and Sam, and I worked the store for 20 years with my parents. In this shop we learned the value of good service and quality food. It was a school ground where we gave and we grew. Since my Dad closed his shop and passed on, the idea of a next generation cafe grew increasingly strong. Leaving 24 years in Big Business and a Director-level job in the computer industry, Baba's Mediterranean Kitchen came to be.
I hope you enjoy Baba's Kitchen as much as those that came in to my Dad's ice cream shop.
Farid Bishara Salloum
CFO (Chief Falafel Officer)
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