Thank you, Portland Phoenix!
About Mini Mogadishu
Mini Mogadishu was opened in 2016 to serve the diverse communities of Portland, Maine. Owners Nimo and Halimo Mohamud are spiritual sisters and, according to the Portland Phoenix, "pioneers in an ethnic fare usually served up by men."
Working with other family members, including Nimo's son, Abdul, they operate Mini Mogadishu every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Woodford's Corner location.
Halimo and Nimo started the restaurant to provide a safe, comfortable place for all people to socialize and enjoy authentic East African food. This was particularly important to the women because many of the social spots frequented by Somali residents were operated by, and primarily catered to, men.
Join them to experience the finest, freshest, most lovingly made Somali food in Portland, Maine.
We don't serve alcohol at Mini-Mogadishu, as it's not a part of Islamic custom and more than 95 percent of Somalis are Muslim. We ask you not to bring alcohol into our restaurant. Thank you!
More from the Portland Phoenix article "Newly opened Mini Mogadishu offers authentic Somali cuisine"...
"Mini Mogadishu is not designed just for women of course, but the idea is to have it run by women making authentic homemade Somali food, with an enclosed space in the restaurant reserved for women where they can comfortably remove their hijabs.
Halimo Mohamud came to Portland in 1999. Nimo arrived a couple of years later. They met in 2002 through a mutual friend and discovered they were from the same Abgaal tribe. They talked about their new lives as immigrants, raising kids in a foreign community, and agreed that mealtime was a solidifying experience.
'Growing up in Somalia made you tough but empathetic. Surrounded by such uncertainty and hardship meant that sometimes the only good part of life was the time spent with family around the dinner table,' Nimo said. 'I’ve watched a large group of kids grow. Some of them my own and some of them within my neighborhood and community. I remember them coming to my house with my children to have supper with us. It is a nice feeling knowing that however small, I did have a little impact on their maturity through a home cooked meal.'
...Operating all day, Mini Mogadishu will serve classic Somali breakfast fare including aanjeero crepes (a fermented pancake-like bread) with hilib (goat or beef) or chicken sugar. Lunchtime offerings include dalac bilash (a tomato soup), boor (fried dough), mushaari bowl (porridge), and fresh pita or jaapaati. For sipping, there'll be fruit smoothies and mango or guava juice.
'And many Italian foods,' said Abdul Yousef, Nimo’s son who painted the left side of the wall blue with a large white star to reflect the Somali flag. 'Italians were settlers in Somalia and part of their culture was left behind. Lasagna, ziti, spaghetti — there are a lot of pasta dishes in our culture.'
Yousef's sister Hanan and brother Abdi helped renovate the restaurant from its former days as Nur’s, Abdi Rahman’s Halaal Market. In addition to painting the walls, the family tackled the kitchen and bathroom, and tore up layers of tile floors...
According to Yousef, conformity is not so important in Somali culture, so he'll have a mix of rearrangeable booth and single seating, a café and a more private section for women only."
We opened this restaurant with everyone in mind. We wanted it to be authentic for the families who didn't have enough time to cook at home, while also including our own adaptations to attract customers who've never tried East African cuisine.