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Egyptian restaurant to open in downtown Kalamazoo

Cairo's Kitchen will serve Egyptian food.
Cairo's Kitchen - Kalamazoo
Posted at 6:23 PM, Jul 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-08 20:53:54-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — A restaurant serving Egyptian food will open a storefront in downtown Kalamazoo.

Cairo's Kitchen started in the local food truck scene back in August 2019.

The fast-casual restaurant will focus on unique, flavor-packed Egyptian dishes reminiscent of the street food the Rezkalla family enjoyed while growing up in their hometown of Cairo, Egypt.

"We all migrated from Egypt. I came 10 years ago, then one by one we all came. My mom was the last person to come to the U.S.," said one of the founders of Cairo's Kitchen Ramy Rezkalla.

The idea of the restaurant was created to sustain the family, focusing on Ramy's mother, Slawa Hana, while her paperwork and social security were being worked out.

"We were coming as immigrants from Egypt. Parents starting in their mid-50s, it is really hard for them to depend on a company that will get them to retirement, so we really wanted something for the family. This was definitely it for sure," said Rezkalla.

The menu was created by the Rezkallas' mother, Chef Slawa Hana. It will feature familiar favorites such as shawarma, falafel, and rice pudding alongside uniquely Egyptian offerings such as koshary (an Egyptian rice dish), bechamel (a baked pasta and spiced beef dish with creamy cheese sauce), Qatayef (a sweet dessert made with pancake batter and filled with a medley of nuts), along with other distinctive plates to tempt those looking for fun new flavors.

The restaurant became popular for attendees of the Portage Farmers Market, Kalamazoo Farmers Market and later Grand Rapids Farmers Market.

The Rezkalla family had plans to open Cairo's Kitchen in a storefront last year. When the pandemic hit, it put the idea of opening to a halt.

"The pandemic served us well because we doubled up in sales actually in 2020, which was not expected at all," said Rezkalla.

After reevaluating in March of this year, the Rezkallas decided to go for it and open their first brick-and-mortar restaurant.

"We have a really great following right now. We have a really strong presence all over Kalamazoo," said Rezkalla.

Cairo's Kitchen will hold its grand opening on Monday, July 26 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. It will feature some familiar dishes with an expanded menu.

They are located at 155 W. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1D, inside the Exchange building.

The new location will be open from Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Visitors can still find them at food truck rallies and local farmers markets. Catering is also available.

RELATED: Downtown Kalamazoo sees more new businesses than closures despite pandemic

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