Afro Deli owner Abdirahman Kahin helping put Minnesota on global stage
Afro Deli & Grill owner Abdirahman Kahin isn't just building a thriving restaurant chain, he's become an unofficial diplomat for Minnesota.
The latest: Kahin was in Paris in late May, helping promote the state as the host for the 2027 World's Fair Specialized Expo.
- He presented to an audience of diplomats and delegates from African countries who will cast votes to decide which of five international cities gets to host the expo.
Catch up fast: Kahin, who was born in Somalia and raised in Djibouti, opened the first Afro Deli in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood in 2010. He's since added locations near the University of Minnesota and in the downtowns of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
- He told Axios he's planning to open another eatery in a new building near Lake Street and Nicollet Avenue in late 2024 or early 2025. He's also targeting Burnsville Center for a restaurant in 2024 or 2025.
- The Small Business Administration on May 1 named him the national Small Business Person of the Year.
The intrigue: Kahin said he made the trip to Paris because, "I'm an activist before being a business person, so anything that I can do to help the country and the state, I am willing to do."
- He also said because Minnesota and the U.S. have a large African diaspora, the expo would provide opportunities for African countries if it's held here.
What they're saying: Minnesota USA Expo 2027 board member Mark Ritchie told Axios that watching Kahin in Paris was inspiring.
- "His description of how Minnesota made it possible for him to get started in business and to grow and to be successful and to give back to his community is a dramatic story," Ritchie said.
What's ahead: Kahin is meeting with investors as he hopes to take Afro Deli's fast-casual African fusion concept national, while continuing to help with the expo bid.
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