New Chelsea Market Tour Stop: Eat Offbeat Cafe!
Eat Offbeat Cafe was founded in 2015 by Manal Kahi and her brother Wissam Kahi, who were inspired by their family’s Lebanese heritage and the experiences of refugees they had met. The cafe aims to not only serve delicious food but also to create job opportunities for refugees in the United States and raise awareness about the challenges they face.
In addition to the cafe, Eat Offbeat also offers catering services and has expanded to sell meal kits and other food products. Eat Offbeat Cafe has been recognized for its innovative approach to food and social impact, receiving awards and features in media outlets such as Forbes, CNN, and The New York Times.
We love this story about how it all came about from an article in Cool Hunting:
In 2013—during the conflict that displaced millions of Syrian people, around a million of whom sought refuge in Lebanon—Manal Kahi left Beirut for NYC to attend graduate school. She planned to work in multilateral or environmental affairs, but her concern about the crisis back home and her dissatisfaction with grocery store hummus (clearly two very different issues) started her on a different journey. “You can only imagine the amount of discrimination that was ensuing,” Kahi tells us about the influx of refugees in her homeland. “And I had left, with a little bit of guilt in the back of my mind about not being able to do anything. But there it was,” she says, “when I started thinking.”
Her own homemade hummus, made using her Syrian grandmother’s recipe, had been a hit with friends, and she thought about how many magnificent family recipes were being cooked all over the city. With that, the concept for Eat Offbeat was born.