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This Is My Story...

January 6, 1990, marks a great milestone in my life. 30 years ago I landed at JFK international airport in New York from Monrovia, Liberia. Born in 1964 in Monrovia, moved to Lebanon in 1974 with my parents, I then returned to the place of my birth, Monrovia, Liberia in 1989. I left 3 months later to escape their civil war to begin my adventure in the United States.

After being here for a few months, I started working at a deli. This was a big change from my sales position that I had held in Lebanon. I worked for a couple of delis, where I come to appreciate some good Jewish food, especially corn beef. I always had the itch to return to sales, and after three years in the food business, I took a job in sales working for Boch Mitsubishi in Norwood, Ma. I then went to work for Nashua Mitsubishi in Nashua, NH, closer to where my wife and I resided in Woburn, Ma. During my employment at my previous deli job at North Station Deli I met and now is my wife, Jodi. She was a customer and asked for a seafood salad sandwich for dine-in, and she will take the cook to go (Good pick up line). After working for a few months at Nashua Mitsubishi, I met one of the Hannoush cousins and was offered a position at the Hannoush Jewelers in Nashua. It was a job that I enjoyed immensely, helping customers thru their happy purchases, and most importantly, meeting this great and humble family. After I was transferred to Saugus, and then the Peabody store to assist in managing that location. I worked for the Hannoush family from 1995 to 1998. After being passed on a promotion to manage the Nashua store, the decision was made to leave and accept another sales position with E. B. Horn Company in Boston downtown crossing. I was employed there from 1998 to 2000. The experience that I gained from that company was huge, and by the time I left E. B. Horn, I was the pearl buyer for them.

The Story Continues...

In 2000, the opportunity presented itself, and I was able to purchase what was then called "Café Lebanon" from a bank. I gave my two weeks' notice, and my wife and I picked up our lives and moved from Lawrence MA to Springfield MA. My wife accepted a position at Baystate Hospital as a nurse, and I began working on my new venture and getting it ready to open. I named the restaurant "Nadim's Café' Lebanon and opened for business in July, 2000, at 141 State Street. In 2005, the current location became available, and I decided to move the restaurant to 1390 Main Street. In 2011, the name was changed to "Nadim's Downtown" and the menu became broader and was expanded to include more Mediterranean items. People always ask which culinary school I attended, and my reply is when I got married, neither one of us knew how to cook and one of us had to learn otherwise we would be eating every meal out (my wife doesn't like this answer lol). I learned a lot by asking my mom, aunt, my brother-in-law, and anyone and everyone that knows anything and everything about food for recipes and experimenting on our guests at home.

There have been lots of changes since then. In 2014, I closed my East Longmeadow location to focus my energy on downtown. This also afforded me the opportunity to get my life back, spend time with my family, travel and enjoy the simple things in life before preparing for the opening of MGM Casino in 2018. In preparation of the casino, I updated the menu, improved my training program for employees, and was able to offer online ordering to my customers' thanks due to updated technology. Lots of new things going on in downtown, the city is vibrant with the MGM Casino, Symphony Hall, Thunderbird at the MassMutual Center and City Stage. Come on down and check out all that Springfield has to offer. Stop in before or after visiting any of these incredible venues.

This journey has been a great one for me. I am blessed with a wonderful wife; Jodi, my two healthy children; Amir and Amani and a successful business. My family, my friends and my customers have all been a great part of my life and my achievements. I enjoy being part of and am thankful for all of the support that we exchange within this community. I am looking forward for the next years to come, and have exciting things planned. Thank you all for being part of my 30 years in this great country.

- Chef Nadim