Photo: Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post (Getty Images)
Food has power. It doesn’t just have the ability to fill our stomachs. It has the ability to fill our souls as well. And there may not be a better current example of that beautiful concept than the Sakina Halal Grill, a high-end restaurant in Washington D.C. It’s a Pakistani establishment, owned by an immigrant, just blocks from the White House.
But instead of charging outrageous prices for pretentious food served to upper-class patrons, the restaurant chooses to serve quality food to people from all walks of life, even if those people walk into the restaurant without a dime.
Choices, it’s all about it.
— José María Puerta (@josemariapuerta) November 12, 2018
“If someone says, ‘I need a free meal,’ I say ‘OK,’” said Kazi Mannan, the restaurant’s owner.
That’s right. Mannan feeds the poor and homeless for free every day. In fact, one homeless man has been coming to Sakina Halal twice a day for the last four years.
Here is footage of Mannan walking through area parks, telling people about the meals that he gives away for free.
RT _SJPeace_: RT _SJPeace_: This Pakistani Muslim man opened a restaurant to feed the homeless free in Washington, D.C.
Kazi Mannan is his name. He is a HERO.
RETWEET THIS pic.twitter.com/cYEzZIXLoK
— Sharon Kyle (@SharonKyle00) November 29, 2018
Word about the free meals has spread. Last year, according to ABC7, the restaurant gave away 16,000 free meals.
— Caroline Patrickis (@Cpatrickis) February 8, 2019
So how does Mannan stay in business? Thankfully, Mannan makes enough money from his paying customers to cover the costs of the free meals given to the homeless.
So it turns out the #SakinaHalalGrill is right around the corner from my wife’s office. I had to stop by and show some love. Mr. Kazi Mannan is so chill. What an awesome guy! pic.twitter.com/4cYirzT0eT
— K.R. Whalen (@KR_Whalen) February 9, 2019
Now that word has spread across the globe about his restaurant, Sakina Halal Grill is always packed full of customers.
Keep up the fantastic work, Mannan. Keep feeding people. Keep feeding souls. And hopefully, this idea will spread to other cities.
“When you uplift another human being, it’s a beautiful thing,” said Mannan.
I went and checked on Kazi today after his story went viral over the weekend. He says business is booming. So many new customers are joining him to support him @ABC7News #kazimannan pic.twitter.com/agXVX50d24
— Caroline Patrickis (@Cpatrickis) February 11, 2019
Josh Helmuth is a sports guy in St. Louis who contributes to Mandatory.