Written by David Esrati, The Next Wave

Halal International Market has been a part of our neighborhood since the mid nineties, although it started across the street from the current location.

When I introduced myself to the original owner, he told me his name was Mohammed – and then said with a smile, “We’re all named Mohammed.” When Mohammed sold the store to the current owner, Faez Al Mosawi, the store quickly outgrew it’s old location. The old gas station that had become Rush Package delivery, was converted into a grocery. The City hassled them over not having “handicapped accessible bathrooms” costing them an extra $10K to be legal.

The store is restocked at least once a week, from a run up to Detroit where there is a huge middle eastern community. The prices are super reasonable and you can get things there that you can’t get anywhere else – like three kinds of Feta – all from different countries. Fresh apricots, dates, Labne which is a kind of cream cheese with a lemony kick, and Halal meat.

For those who don’t know the difference between Kosher and Halal meat,  Kosher meat must be butchered by a shohet and soaked before cooking. Halal meat must be butchered in a specific way and healthy at the time of slaughter. Needless to say, no pork is available.

They have bulk chocolates from Russia, fresh pita – ask for the Jasmine brand – and baklava ala carte or by the big box.

Faez and his brothers have since opened a second store and restaurant down by the Dayton Mall. Faez isn’t there all the time, but if you run into him or his three younger brothers, one of whom used to live on Oak Street, and you can get them to talk about the way Faez walked out of Iraq several times to get his family out, it’s an amazing story.