Little Palestine- Chicago, Illinois
By: Raneem Ghunaim/Arab America Contributing Writer If you are ever feeling homesick, Bridgeview, Illinois, is your second best option. Once you reach south of 80th Street in south suburban Bridgeview, you will notice that all the store signs are now in Arabic. As a matter of fact, the entire area is filled with Arab stores, anything from bakeries to restaurants to fashion/ decor stores. The majority of the stores there are run and owned by Palestinians. With their rich manners and traditions, they were able to share that part of them with Illinois state.
Because that area is heavily Palestinian populated, it got the nickname “Little Palestine.” If you enter any store or place there, you will find people speaking Arabic to one another, not only that, but Arabs mostly run the entire area. In fact, if you drive down to Orland Park, they have a Masjid shaped exactly like Masjid Al- Aqsa. However, despite the fact that this area is heavily Palestinian populated, many people from all different backgrounds and cultures shop there because of how good the quality is. Not to mention the caring people who run these places. Due to all of that, here are the places that helped build and contribute to “Little Palestine.”
The Nut House بيت المكسرات
Starting with the Nut House, they have two main locations. One in Illinois (Illinois Store: 7281 W 87th St, Bridgeview, IL 60455 ) and the other in New Jersey (New Jersey Store: 1010 Main St, Paterson, NJ 07503). They also have an online store. The Nut House specializes in much high quality and delicious food items that one might crave. They offer seven types of nuts, including Persian pistachios, Brazilian cashews, mixed nuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, almonds, and ground Turkish pistachios. That each comes in 3+ different flavors and they offer 7 types of seeds, including Palestinian seeds, watermelon seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, Egyptians seeds, and Irani seeds, once again each type comes in 3+ flavors.
Keep in mind that these are only two categories out of the ten that they offer. The Nut House has 100+ different items that you can pick and choose from. If interested make sure to check out their online store.
Alwatan Bakery مخبز و معجنات الوطن
Craving delicious pastries and amazing desserts? Alwatan bakery has all of the above. Once you enter the store, the smell of all the amazing freshly baked goods welcomes you, not to mention how extremely affordable the prices are.
On average, one would expect to pay $10 for two people; of course, prices differ with every order. If you are craving Arab cuisine, make sure to stop by. They are located at 7279 W 87th St, Bridgeview, IL 60455, or if you can’t make it there, be sure to check their site here!
Al Bawadi GrillLocated at 7216 W 87th St, Bridgeview, IL 60455Al Bawad grill they serve the best Arab dishes that could come to mind. Their amazing food is not the only thing that contributed to their fantastic brand, but also the view. If one chooses to dine outside, they are seated at one of the many tables that are facing the street. The best time to go, in my opinion, would be during sunset hours. You get to enjoy your meal while watching the sun go down. Next time you are in the Chicago area, make sure to stop by. However, if you are unable to go, they do online orders and deliveries.
Taking a small break from food spots, if jewelry is your thing, Yasini Jewelers would be the store to go to. Located at 7285 W 87th St, Bridgeview, IL 60455, they have everything from yellow gold jewelry to white gold jewelry to gold bullion. However, if gold is not in your preferred area, they have many diamond jewelry options, including certified diamonds, watches, and l’azurde. They have an endless variety of every choice they offer. The best part is that you can shop online as well because they make deliveries. All can be done in the comfort of your own house and with simply one click!
Masjid Al Aqsa مسجد الاقصى
And finally, Masjid Al Aqsa, located at 16530 104th Ave, Orland Park, IL 60467. Although this might seem like a normal Masjid because it is yet, it is shaped as Majid Al Aqsa, which is located in Palestine. It is very important to all Palestinians, and it is something that they are proud of and hold dearly to their hearts. Often people go there just to take a look at the shape of it. Connected to it is a whole private Islamic school. They hold many events and offer many services to give back to their community.
Keep in mind those places are only a few of the many that contribute to “Little Palestine”, not to mention the amazing people who built helped their community.
Check out Arab America’s blog here!