Knoxville restaurant started by Afghan refugee sets grand opening date – WATE 6 On Your Side

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A new restaurant started by an Afghan refugee coming to Knoxville’s Marble City Market will soon celebrate its grand opening.

Rom’s House will celebrate its grand opening on Sunday, February 4, inside the food hall located at historic Regas Square after a soft opening in late January. The new eatery will serve traditional Afghan cuisine.

“I’m so happy to be a part of this community, and I’m so grateful from the bottom of my heart to all of you guys who came to my store and celebrated with us the soft opening,” owner Mohammad Hamdard said in a video announcement of the grand opening date.

It marks the latest step in the remarkable journey of Hamdard, who served as an interpreter for U.S. Marines in Afghanistan.

Hamdard was forced to leave his family and travel to Turkey to gain citizenship. His family fled Afghanistan in 2021 following the withdrawal of U.S. forces with the help of Marine veteran and Clinton resident Travis Ervin.

His family stayed with Ervin at their Clinton home until Hamdard rejoined them a year later.

Rom’s House is funded by the nonprofit Seeds and Bridges led by Yassin Terou, the owner of Yassin’s Falafel House who himself was forced to flee his home in Syria in 2011.

“He came here to do something, to have a better life for his kids. So I told him, ‘Look, we share the same story. This is how I came. This is how I started. Let’s do it together,’” Terou told WATE.

Marble City Market is at 333 W Depot Ave, Suite 100, in downtown Knoxville.

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