Get a Taste of the “Middle East” in Abilene
Abilene residents are now able to enjoy Middle Eastern food, thanks to a refugee family from Iraq.
Sabah Hammoodi, who served as an interpreter at the Bagdad Airport for the US Air Force, has been in Abilene for 6 months. He recently opened a restaurant where Abileneans can get their fill of Middle Eastern cuisine, from falafel and shawarma to gyros and hummus.
After arriving in Abilene, the Hammoodi family was paired with a volunteer through IRC Abilene’s mentor program. With the help of the IRC volunteer, Sabah obtained a small business license and opened Middle East on January 16, 2010. In true, hometown style, Middle East is a small, family run restaurant with atypical décor. In boasting pride of the United States, American flags are proudly displayed throughout the restaurant and the focal point is a large flag bearing signatures of US troops stationed in Iraq.
When asked why he decided to open a restaurant in his new community Sabah replied, "I want a new life here for myself and family, to be self-sufficient, and have good future for myself and children.”
Volunteers help Abilene refugee families move toward self reliance and obtain their American dreams. To become a volunteer with the IRC in Abilene, please contact Aly.Shanks@theIRC.org