AANM starts culinary tours on Warren

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Photo by Bob Oliver
Arab American National Museum Researcher and Tour Guide Dr. Matthew Stiffler () speaks to the members of the first Yalla Eat! – Arabic for “Let’s Go Eat!” – walking tour outside of Super Greenland Market, 12715 W. Warren Ave., May 27. The tour takes the guests to different businesses along Warren Ave. to learn about the history of East Dearborn, its merchants and to sample local cuisines.

By BOB OLIVER
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — The Arab American National Museum introduced a new culinary program to give people a firsthand look at life in east Dearborn.

Yalla Eat! — Arabic for “Let’s Go Eat!” — kicked off May 27 with the first of six free tours that will take guests to different businesses along Warren Avenue to learn about the history of the area, its merchants and to sample local cuisines.

“These tours are all about getting people to come to Dearborn and experience new foods, a new culture and a great environment,” AANM Researcher and Tour Guide Matthew Stiffler said. “East Dearborn is so lively and has such a rich history and through the tour we share that with people who may have never visited it before.”

The tours begin at Super Greenland Market, 12715 W. Warren Ave., and then the groups of 15 spend the next two hours exploring shops along Warren and interacting with their employees.

“We want participants to be able to get information and ask questions at each stop of the tour as well as try new things,” Stiffler said.

He said the response from business owners about getting involved with the tour was very positive.

Super Greenland Market Manager Mona Alaouie said that when approached by the museum about the tour she thought it was an “amazing” idea.

“Diversity is a good thing,” Alaouie said. “This gives us the opportunity to introduce our unique products to a new audience and also discuss the culture behind them.”

AANM Communications Manager Kim Silarski said the museum began offering tours of Arab-American cuisine, merchants and history last year at Eastern Market in Detroit and that the success of those tours led to the implementation of the new, local tours.

Silarski also said food is one of the focuses of the tour because of its universal appeal.

“Food is a really great bridge into a new culture and a very important part of Arab-American hospitality,” Silarski said. “While we could bring food into the museum and let people sample it here, we think it is more exciting to actually go out into the restaurants and businesses and interact and experience the culture that way. It adds a whole new dimension to the experience of it.”

The six tours scheduled through June 14 are booked to capacity, but Silarski said interested parties can get on a waiting list for a future tour by going to the museum website, www.arabamericanmuseum.org, and signing up.

“There is a lot of interest in both the Warren Avenue and Eastern Market tours, so we will probably be offering more of both of them in the future,” Silarski said.

(Bob Oliver can be reached at boliver@bewickpublications.com.)

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