wHAT CONNECTS US
Food is an important part of culture and heritage. It can connect us to people and places bringing together families and friends. Food connects us to each other, our identities, roots, and the cultures around us.
As a Palestinian refugee, Baba immigrated to the United States of America in the late 1970s to seek a greater education and build a better life. Without any family or friends and knowing little English, Baba began to pursue his American Dream. Often reminiscing the delightful aroma of his mother’s cooking, he missed home.
Back in America, Baba was always in the food business. Coming from a creative family, everyone had their special talents. As a chef, Baba used cooking to reconnect with his roots. But, in the industry, he did not have the freedom he wanted to explore new foods resulting in a feeling of discouragement.
When designing this space, each component of the interior of the store was constructed to be intentional to convey Baba. His house had plants and he collected antiques. Baba’s father was blind and had radios surrounding him. Baba then collected radios as tribute to his father. The store reflects these components of his identity.
A few weeks later, as their sign went up on the front of the building, in English it read “Baba’s Pantry” and below, in a beautiful orange, there was Arabic– a tribute to Baba’s identity. The family looked up and Baba said “Mashallah [God willing] it’s beautiful.”