My name is Abdul Alrammah. In 1987, I arrived in the United States with $1,000 in my pocket and did not speak any English. When I was in my country of birth, Yemen, I was a soccer player for the national team. I initially settled in Michigan and trained soccer for the Yemeni Youth Soccer Team, which helped me meet the community. Even with these contacts, initially I had difficulty finding employment because of my limited English proficiency, but finally I got a job as a prep cook where I had little interaction with the customers. It was at that point where I began to learn the secrets of the restaurant business and discovered I loved it. As my English improved, in 1994 I had the opportunity of studying culinary arts at Wayne County Community College, in Detroit Michigan. Since then, I have developed my restaurant skills working in many different ethnic restaurants. It was a great accomplishment when I opened my first restaurant in 1996! I came to San Francisco in 2013 to join a partnership in a Middle Eastern restaurant, but missed owning my own restaurant. So this year, I sold my share in the partnership and opened the Yemenkitchen on Jones Street in the Tenderloin.
Over the last 25 years, through successful ownership and management of restaurants, I have gained extensive experience, skills, and knowledge of cooking, cuisine, and restaurant operations. I enjoy cooking and am pleased when my customers compliment my dishes. Based on my reputation and skills, and great reviews from my customers, I feel very confident that my new restaurant will be successful.
I opened Yemenkitchen in June 2015. It is a small, comfortable restaurant, seating 14, that offers in-house dining, take-out, and catering for all occasions. I serve traditional Yemenise food, such as roasted lamb and beef.
I’m in the Tenderloin a very low-income neighborhood where many residents don’t have kitchens. My little restaurant provides delicious, affordable, wholesome dishes and a warm and friendly place to gather. People are happy eating here. For some customers, my food is an introduction to the wonderful tastes of Yemen and a window into our beautiful culture. For my fellow Yemeni immigrants, I offer the taste of home. Because of the war, many of us can’t return to visit and are separated from our families. So the community finds comfort in my traditional dishes and a place to gather and share.
If you happen to be in San Francisco, please come by. I hope to be able to welcome you to my restaurant and the cuisine of Yemen. Thank you.
The $5,000 KIVA Zip loan will help me to buy restaurant equipment. I plan on purchasing a new refrigerator ($1,500), a freezer ($1,800) and a flat grill ($2,000).
The purchase of the equipment will help me to better store food items. Since I will reduce shopping trips, I will have more time to devote to building my business, marketing, and cooking great food. The grill I am currently using doesn’t have a thermostat so it needs to be on all day. A new, larger, grill will lower my utility costs and enable me to serve more customers.