Run by refugee chefs, Memphis' Global Café Is the most incredible food hall you haven't heard of — yet.

By Perri Ormont Blumberg
January 08, 2019

Picture the most tantalizing food display you can imagine. If your Shangri-La spread includes cheesy potato bread, roasted garlic and red lentil soup, curried mashed potatoes, ceviche tostada, chicken kebab platters, Baklava, and other international delights, Memphis' Global Café is calling your name.

Founded by Sabine Langer, an immigrant from Switzerland, the wheels for Global Café started turning in 2012 while she was volunteering with the Refugee Empowerment Program in Memphis. "I met these amazing women from different countries who were cooking on the side as a hobby or a way to make extra income," Langer told NPR's The Salt in a recent profile of Global Café. "Some of them were dreaming about owning a restaurant but were not in a financial position to do that."

Opened in August 2018, the Memphis food hall — located inside Crosstown Concourse at 1350 Concourse Avenue — has become a vibrant, inclusive gathering place for people all over the world. Currently, the space features cuisine from Syria, Sudan, and Nepal, with each stall helmed by a refugee chef from the respective country.

When Langer presented Fayha Sakkan, the Syrian chef with the opportunity join the team at Global Café, she eagerly accepted. "I could cook for 24 hours, I don't mind. I love to cook," she told NPR.

And when you feast on Sakkan's flavorful dishes — prepared with love along with her assistantas Hussam and Khetam — and perhaps paired with a drink from Juan, the general manager and head bartender who hails from Mexico, you'll feel the world shrink with each spoonful.