RADFORD, Va. – Abdul and Alaa Ghoneim moved to the U.S. from Egypt more than a decade ago, but the vision for Radford’s Arabica Cafe and Bakery started long before that.
Abdul recalls, “I used to bring my friends pastries from my Mom and food, and they loved it. It was my Mom’s dream, and she was scared. So, I just took the next step for her.”
A step that - once finished - was met with tears of joy.
“I was in tears when I saw how happy she was at first.”
For Alaa, she also says the city needed this - making it a win-win.
“The town really needs some place - somewhere like this – a place for people to gather and hang out and grab coffee.”
The Turkish Coffee has quickly become a hit, due to its richness and unique taste.
For a little history lesson, Abdul teaches us how it all started.
“People did not have electricity. They used to make it on the sand, and that’s how it would get its flavor.”
Now there’s still the sand but a machine that makes the process quicker.
This, along with the pastries and savory flavors are what’s filled the Ghoneim home for years.
“Falafel, shawarma, and things like that. Saffron cake, zaatar, anis cake and a lot of different Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavors. They’re not the same every day. One day, she [their mother] will come and decide ‘Hey, I want to do this.’ So she will change everything. The assortment changes every day. Everything is baked in house. You just kind-of have to come every day, and see what’s here.”
When we stopped by, we tried everything from the sweet to savory - the cinnamon cookie to the Oreo and chicken shawarma crepe. Each had layers of flavor and love that keep many in Radford coming back for more.
That’s music to the Ghoneim’s ears. After all, when we asked where they wanted to see this go, Abdul replied, “Maybe the next Starbucks!”