By: Omar Thabet
Have you and your family ever been torn between having a traditional American or traditional Yemeni breakfast but couldn’t decide what to eat? Well, look no further, Dellah Coffee & Brunch House is here!
Dellah Coffee & Brunch house is a family owned business located in Dearborn, Michigan. The 5 owners are: Sisters Amel Nasser and Faizah Nasser, their husbands Hussein Alabasi and Askar Alabasi and their brother Amjad Alabasi.
According to owner Faizah Nasser, the idea of Dellah came about upon reflection of their own identities.
“We carry within us the intersectional identities of being Yemeni descendants and American raised individuals,” Faizah said. “The interplay of cultures and traditions make up who we are and in turn, make up the Dellah atmosphere.”
“The idea came up as a joke,” said owner Amel Nasser.
“My sister and I are neighbors and our families always had brunch every Sunday together,” Amel added. “Our husbands always chose having traditional and authentic Yemeni breakfast while we and the children wanted traditional American breakfast items, therefore it was hard to go out for brunch. One day, about 5 years ago, that’s when I said, ‘there is not one place where we all can enjoy our favorite foods, it looks like we will have to create one to just go out for brunch as a family.’”
That is when the idea of Dellah Coffee & Brunch house started to become a reality.
At the front counter you can see a picture of a Dellah, which is the Arabic word for coffee pot. In the Yemeni Culture a Dellah symbolizes hospitality, which is what inspired the owners to come up with the name for their restaurant.
Dellah’s Unique Atmosphere
When you walk into Dellah Coffee & Brunch House you get the smell of traditional Yemeni coffee’s and teas while Arabic music is playing harmoniously in the background.
There are murals on the walls that depict everyday life in Yemen as well as paintings and photos of well-known Yemeni architectures and landscapes such as Dal Al-Hajar, Bab Al-Yemen and Socotra Island, to name a few.
When we asked what was the reasoning behind the art and culture in the restaurant’s atmosphere, Faizah said, “To ignite a sense of pride and appreciation to our homeland where we came from.”
“The murals on the walls instantly show you that you are in a restaurant that is deeply rooted in a fusion of cultures and consists of different aromas, which makes you curious to want to learn and experience the delicious food and drinks,” Faizah added.
This is one of many paintings of famous landscapes in Yemen that is hung up at Dellah Coffee & Brunch House.
Dellah’s Menu Items
The name Dellah is the Arabic word for coffee pot and in Yemeni culture it symbolizes hospitality. The Dellah is a pillar of Yemeni culture. At Dellah Coffee & Brunch House, they value embracing their guests with the generosity and hospitality that is deeply ingrained in Yemeni culture.
Some of the Yemeni traditional breakfast items they sell at Dellah are: fasolia (white beans sauteed in onions, tomato sauce, and traditional yemeni hawaij), fowl, yemeni style scrambled eggs, and the popular lahm sighar, and fatteh with tamr topped with ashta and drizzled with honey.
Dellah also serves traditional American breakfast items such as pancakes (a famous one has been the pistachio and ashta pancakes), omelets, french toasts, and waffles. They also serve gourmet breakfast toast, such as the Mediterranean Toast which is topped with hummus, peppers, and feta cheese and the Lebna and Zaatar Toast, a mix of cultures the owners grew up with in Dearborn.
Dellah also serves several traditional Yemeni brewed coffee blends using fine grounds of coffee and spices such as the mofawer, rada’ey, sanaani, jubani, qishr, turkish, and the Arabian qahwa which they call “Queen Arwa’s coffee”. They also have all kinds of espresso coffees and lattes, both served hot or iced. Then they have the popular Adeni Chai and traditional Yemeni tea with mint for their customers to have a light and refreshing drink to go with their meal.
This Mural at Dellah Coffee & Bruch House is dedicated to their late grandmother, Amnah who instilled the love for Yemeni coffee in them and depicts the everyday life of residents in Yemen.
A Thriving Business in Dearborn
Dellah Coffee & Brunch House opened up in November 2022. They don’t plan on having their “grand opening” until after Ramadan.
That hasn’t stopped Dellah from bringing in customers to their restaurant.
According to owner/manager Amjad Alabasi, business has been doing well.
“We are so humbly grateful for all the support we have received from our community” Amjad said.
“We love hearing people expressing their joy and satisfaction with the food, service, and the ambience that Dellah Coffee and Brunch House has to offer,” Amel added. “We are making new friends on a daily basis and some faces are becoming familiar as they are returning customers, so that means a lot to us.”
At Dellah Coffee & Brunch House, their core values are hospitality, culture, and community. They want to be more than just a restaurant and café. Dellah Coffee & Brunch House will serve as a comfortable space for all, local residents and more, knowing that it is a gathering place where all are welcomed and celebrated.
A few weeks ago, Dellah held a book signing for local author Salwa Mawari and her book Under the Sana’a Skyline.
Residents got a chance to get to meet the author, learn more about the book, while kids got a chance to draw pictures that are similar to the illustrations in Salwa’s book.
When asked what was the purpose of holding events like this one, Faizah said, “Our doors are open so we can learn more about each other and build relationships within our community. Literacy is really important to us especially as mothers, we can learn more about each other through books that represent who we are and a way to make connections with our community’s younger generation. Through community connections, we host local authors/artists/musicians to share their talent with the greater community.”
Dellah Coffee & Brunch House also plans to launch a new culturally interactive placemat where kids will get a chance to learn more about the Yemeni culture and encourage and initiate conversations while waiting for their food.
Faizah closed out the interview by thanking everyone and saying, “with the support and inspiration of our friends and family this dream became a reality.”