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This article was published 18/11/2019 (709 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A new cafe in the West End is serving up vegan Middle Eastern cuisine.
Good Lands Cafe opened its doors on Oct. 28, serving coffee, tea and homemade baked goods.
Owner Bassam Hozaima said he’s always dreamed of running his own place.
"It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while. I’ve worked in restaurants before, while I was going to school. I’ve always enjoyed cooking," Hozaima said. "So I decided to take early retirement and pursue my dream."
Hozaima said he worked for Child and Family Services for the last 15 years but he was always thinking about opening a cafe. In 2017, he finally decided to retire from work to pursue his passion.
He decided that he wanted to put his own twist on Middle Eastern food. Originally from Palestine, he decided that in the morning he would serve coffee and homemade cookies and muffins, but for lunch he was going to make pitas. He added that there aren’t very many vegan places in the city, much less vegan places that serve Middle Eastern food.
His family ate vegan, so he decided to bring those home-cooked vegan meals to the West End.
His menu includes three wraps: shawarma with soy protein, roasted slices of eggplant, and mujadara, a popular Middle Eastern dish. Mujadara is a blend of red lentils and rice seasoned with spices, served in a pita wrap with tahini sauce.
Hozaima said his favourite part of running the cafe is meeting new people.
"I just really enjoy the connections I make with the people in the area. They sit down, they try the food, I really appreciate all the positive feedback," Hozaima said. "There’s a good (variety) of food places here. I feel like this cafe gives me an opportunity to be more involved with the community and the area."
Hozaima said he’s lived in the West End for around 15 years. He said he has big plans for the space, he’ll eventually have weekly specials, on top of the pitas he serves now, and plans to add more baked goods to the menu. The space will also host an open mic every second Friday. The first was held on Nov. 15.
Good Lands Cafe is located at 679 Sargent Ave. The cafe is open from 8 a.m. till 4 p.m. from Monday to Thursday, and is open from 10 a.m. till 5 p.m. on Sundays.
For more information, contact the cafe at 204-416-2883.
The Metro community journalist
Justin Luschinski was the community journalist for The Metro until May 2021.