manager, Aladdin Family Restaurant
“My family came here in the 70’s. They came here from Syria for a better life. They decided they wanted to open up a restaurant where they can host family and friends, and it started off small with a very small menu, and it just grew from there. A lot of people say there’s not much to do in Allentown and it’s not really what there is to do. It’s the people.
There’s so many different walks of life. There’s a big Syrian community, a big Hispanic community, there’s a lot of history here. It’s a small world and I love that everyone’s intertwined. All of our family is here, this is where a lot of people immigrated to from Syria in the 70’s. So that’s why I personally love Allentown and think that our business is doing well because of that.
Allentown was unrecognizable 10, even 15 years ago. I think that the revitalization of downtown Allentown is a great example of all the changes. All the new residents that are going and living downtown all these new buildings and apartment complexes, and now the waterfront is being built. From the 50’s to the 70’s, Allentown was the hotspot. There’s so many ways that people are trying to get back to where we were back then.
We have a lot more people as the population is growing, and I feel that over the years with social media and all that, it allows restaurants, especially like ours, that are very small and family owned that not a lot of people know about. I think that gets our name out there a lot more. We’re not a chain restaurant. There’s a lot of support, people love to support small businesses. It’s a great support system, not just within your own steering committee, but with everybody. It’s all a melting pot.”
Interview by Jordan Sheris ’23