Nilufar Restaurant is Officially Closed
Store Manager Continues Community Initiatives Without Storefront
On Dec. 16, 2022, Ste. Catherine St. lost a benchmark for healthy, affordable food.
Nilufar Restaurant, a student favourite, shut its doors after conflicts with their landlord, Amcor Holdings.
Store manager Nilufar Al-Shourbaji, after whom the restaurant is named, told The Link that she does not currently have plans to open another storefront. Nonetheless, she mentioned that the restaurant will continue selling their Falafel Royale in grocery stores. They will also pursue their catering services as well as their Falafel-it-forward community initiative.
“I will never stop Falafeling-it-forward," Al-Shourbaji said, adding that she might have designated drop-off locations in the near future to facilitate falafel distribution in underprivileged communities. “I want to keep that initiative going […] hopefully for the rest of my life. I will always give back to the community in that way.”
Many recipients of Falafel-it-forward have been members of the unhoused community, the store manager explained, but she has also helped Concordia students in need.
“I’ve had students come [in the store] and be like ‘look, all my money went to school. I haven’t eaten in two days, please help me.’ and I’d give them food,” Al-Shourbaji recounted.
Resilience Montreal, a community-led project offering food, clothing and support to the unhoused population of the Cabot Square area, has benefited from the Falafel-it-forward initiative in the past.
“The people working at this restaurant were incredibly thoughtful, kind and generous,” said Margo Buchanan, a coordinator at Resilience.
As he was exiting the store, Sam, who has been a customer of Nilufar Restaurant for the past eight years, said that it’s a shame the shop has been forced to close because “the food is amazing” and the restaurant is very community-oriented.
The past few years have been difficult for smaller businesses, he said, especially with COVID-19, as “the bigger chains get more calls [from customers].”
However, losing her storefront will not deter Al-Shourbaji from continuing to make falafels. People can still contact Al-Shourbaji on social media or by phone to book catering services or to request falafels.
“For the people who are coming in daily, whether they have the money [to buy the food] or not, I’m actually worried about [them],” said Al-Shourbaji. “I’m hoping the ones who do have access to internet can ask me for help if they need it.”
“I strongly encourage [the restaurant] to continue because they’re doing an amazing job for the community,” Sam said.
The Link reached out to Amcor Holdings for a statement but did not hear back.
To contact Nilufar Restaurant by phone: (514) 262-9032
To contact Nilufar Restaurant via Twitter: @resto_nilufar
To contact Nilufar Restaurant via Instagram: @nilufar_mtl