PATERSON, N.J. (PIX11) – The Iraqi bread baked by this family in Paterson is made from scratch, much like their journey from war-torn Iraq to the United States in 2004.
Hiba Oudah is one of eight siblings who, along with their parents, knew they had no choice but to leave the country.
Between the Iraq war and religious conflicts, violence grew by the day.
“I remember only the killing stuff,” said Oudah. “Like, I see bodies in the street when we go to schools.”
They fled to Egypt, where they, at least, felt safer. But their mother, Ahlam, had the vision not just to get them to the U.S. but to begin their American dream.
“Without her [Ahlam], we’re not here or having this restaurant or even the name,” said Oudah.
Hiba Oudah now works at the family restaurant, Al-Mazaq, on East Railway, where Ahlam is the head chef. They opened up shop about five years ago.
“Now we are dreaming,” said Oudah.
The family plans to one day open up an even bigger restaurant and they hope to distribute their bread to an even larger base of customers.
“We also now have the wholesale, the big companies, asking to make business with us,” said Oudah.
Back then, Ahlam sold her wedding ring to be able to feed her children. Today, they’re feeding others and dreaming big.