A shuttered and beloved Somali restaurant may be making a return at the end of this year or the beginning of the next. Yahya Noor, chef and owner of Tawakal Halal Cuisine, began posting photos to Facebook right before Thanksgiving, and the internet began to get excited.
Improper Bostonian restaurant critic MC Slim JB stated in a Facebook post, “Fingers crossed that rare-in-Boston Somali restaurant Tawakal Halal Cuisine's comeback effort gets a chance. I loved it when I reviewed it for The Phoenix back in 2011.” The restaurant closed later that year.
Noor told Eater that he’s currently looking for leases in East Boston and Chelsea. If he decides on Eastie, Tawakal Halal will land in the neighborhood of its birth — the first location was a staple of the Orient Heights dining scene. It was above the Victory Pub, which is now Renegade’s Pub, on Bennington Street. Noor hopes to pick up where he left off, introducing people to the food of his home — and his homeland.
“Not many places offer Somali cuisine,” said Noor. “I want to introduce people to the food I grew up eating in my home.”
Noor grew up in Barawa, a port town on Somalia’s southern coast. He and his family left after the civil war. They lived for some time in a refugee camp in Kenya before emigrating to the United States in 1997. They spent a year in Michigan but have been in Boston since 1998. Noor said food has always been a touchstone in his family.
“Growing up in Somalia, one of the only things we had was cooking,” Noor explained. “Something I've always enjoyed therefore is good home cooking. I’m enjoying all of this great food at home, and I’ve always wanted to get my family’s food out there into the world.”
As plans solidify for Tawakal Halal’s return, keep an eye on its Facebook page for updates.