Amr Bin Al Aas street in Kuwait, known as ‘Food Street’, is a go-to destination for everyone in the country from Kuwaitis to expats and the young and old.
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The 650-meter-long street gained its name for its various restaurants and juice shops.
Driving down this street, one can’t help but notice the common trend of customers ordering meals from the comfort of their vehicles rather than sitting at the tables by the restaurants.
After their meals, they cruise down Al Blajat Street, a famous waterfront street ranging from Salmiya to Kuwait City.
“When the restaurant is on a street front where there are many people and cars, it attracts people more than if a restaurant was on a random street between buildings,” Mohammed Al Qadhi, a One Cut employee, told Gulf News.
One Cut, a shawarma restaurant, like most restaurants on Food Street receives free advertising just being located on the street. One shawrama restaurant, Kurdo, has two locations on Food Street, one that is 17-years-old and the other opened just a year ago.
“There was too much of a rush on the old restaurant and so to keep up with the demand and customers, Kurdo opened a second branch,” says Mohammed, a Kurdo employee.
Although the first Kurdo branch has been around for almost two decades, it is still not one of the oldest, as Makarina, a sandwich shop, first opened on Food Street in 1998. While there are old and new restaurants on the street, there is a common theme between them all: they are open 24 hours a day.
“Customers come and go throughout the day, there is no specific time people want some juice. But usually the busiest period is around the holidays, especially during the national and liberation holiday,” Waleed Jamal Tawfiq, a Khokh We Meshmesh employee, told Gulf News.
“While we are open 24 hours we usually see the most amount of traffic around 11pm to 12am,” Al Qadhi pointed out.
Those that can be seen driving up and down Food Street in the later hours are usually younger people, mainly men. Tawfiq pointed out that most of Khokh We Meshmesh’s, a well known juice shop, customers are younger.
Since most of the food is prepared to go, some of the most common foods people order on Food Street is chicken or beef shawarmas, hotdog sandwiches and falafel sandwiches. As for drinks, the most common are fruity drinks that usually have unique names.
For example, one of Khokh We Meshmesh’s best selling drinks is the ‘Tiger’ which is a combination of mango juice, ice cream, avocado juice, pieces of pomegranate and strawberry juice.
As most restaurants in Kuwait, all the restaurants on Food Street were affected by the closures.
“We were closed for four months and we stayed without work. All the restaurants were affected but then when they lifted the curfew we saw business resume,” Al Qadhi explained.
From March 22 to August 30, Kuwait has been under some form of curfew, both partial and complete, making it the longest consecutive lockdown in the world. The nationwide lockdown took place between May 10 and May 30. During the total lockdown all restaurants were forced to remain shut, thus incurring great losses. Then after the total lockdown, the country began opening in phases and the curfew hours changed every month, more or less, as the government evaluated the current health situation to ensure a safe return to normality.
“The last hour before the curfew, between 8pm and 8:50pm, was the busiest hour for us,” Tawfiq said.
According to an economic research report by National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the restaurant sector is one of the sectors that will be affected and hit directly.
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