Alabama Public Television recently published an episode of their digital series Monograph, that prominently featured Greensboro’s own Sarah Cole of Abadir’s. Host, Jackie Clay, visited Cole in her kitchen space that has been gaining popularity statewide for its unique fusion of Arabic and Southern cuisine. For their summer broadcast, Cole demonstrated how to make one of Abadir’s mainstays Sfouf—a turmeric tea cake, that Cole put her own vegan spin on.
“I’ll be in the kitchen working,” Cole said in her introduction on the program, adding, “It feels like I shouldn’t be doing anything else.”
Cole described the origins of the name Abadir’s, which is originally a family named, later anglicized to Anton when Cole’s mother came to the United States from Egypt.
“I just always thought Abadir was beautiful. So it was nice doing what my family felt like they couldn’t do. Share that name and share that culture with the community,” Cole said of her namesake popup.
Cole’s family informed much of her culinary experience, where her mother bridged the gap between Egyptian and Southern cuisine. She also reminisced about the Egyptian side of her family, based in Jersey City, New Jersey, where Cole would be exposed to her Egyptian heritage beyond the Southern context.
“Every time we got together it was always centered around food,” Cole said of her family, adding, “When I was around them, I got to experience more of the traditional side of my heritage.”
Abadir’s has seen tremendous growth in the past year, expanding popups across central and west Alabama, even catering private events and weddings. Alongside this growth, Cole has recently moved into a new kitchen space that is currently being renovated. The space will not only serve as the kitchen for Abadir’s, but as the headquarters of Cole’s own nonprofit Black Belt Food Project. During the program, Cole showed off paint stains on her arms, describing the renovation process.
“I wasn’t planning on things moving so quickly for the business,” Cole said, “but I’m just riding the wave.”
Cole plans on the space hosting classes, workshops, and other community-centered projects to combat food insecurity and create meaningful connections through cuisine.