Our Story

            Founded in 1999, in Baghdad Iraq, Al Reef Corpoation was launched by a retired government worker by the name of Mr. Abdulillah Rassam. Mr. Rassam had dreamed of opening a small coffee shop and roastery after his retirement. His dream was realized when he opened a small 90 m2 store. The shop was named Al Reef Coffee Shop. The coffee shop was started as a hobby and as a means for Mr. Rassam to spend his time. The Al Reef Coffee and Roastery shop also included a hookah lounge. The hookah lounge was the first of its kind in Iraq. The shop instantly became a hit catering to young students at a nearby university as well as young people that lived nearby.

            In the early 2000’s, wrap sandwich establishments took off in the Middle East. With the regular hookah lounge customers requesting food items, Mr. Rassam decided to enter into a new venture and start a restaurant. He envisioned starting an establishment that had a cultural tie with a modern touch. In 2001, the small coffee shop was complemented by a restaurant adjoining the original shop. Saj al Reef Restaurant was born. The name reflects the traditional Saj bread (dough that is placed on a doomed metal griddle and backed over wood fire) that had been used for many generations in rural Iraq and Al Reef represents a traditional Iraqi village.

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A menu was carefully developed to reflect Mr. Rassam’s vision; unique and healthy food. The Saj, which was one of the main food items in the menu, was developed as a healthy alternative to bread. Many of the items featured Saj as one of its components. With time, other items were slowly introduced into the menu to include different ethnic foods. The menu now includes Saj sandwiches with European, Mexican, Indian, as well as other ethic food flavors.

            Rising in popularity, the restaurant soon out grew it’s space. Over the last few years, the restaurant has undergone several expansions. New branches were opened due to the success of the original restaurant. Our newest venture has us bringing our traditional and cultural food to the United States. Our newest restaurant will be opening in San Diego, California. We expect our store to open in the fall of 2015. Our long term vision is to operate a successful franchise in the United States.

Our Philosophy

            Our company’s philosophy is focused on creating a successful business with unique thoughts and ideas for our restaurant chains. We strive to bring you unique restaurants with a variety of food offerings that are made from the finest raw materials. Our classic Middle Eastern foods are complemented with various global food flavors. We will ensure that modern global technology will be an integral part of our restaurant operation. We are committed to provide excellent customer service by establishing a Customer Service Department that will continue to develop strategies to seek input from our customers as well as develop strategies to ensure customer satisfaction.

Our Vision

            To become one of the largest restaurant brands in the Middle East by 2025. We plan to have 15 branches in California, Arizona and Michigan. To achieve our vision, we plan to employ more than 2,500 capable and highly motivated employees to run the company. The employees will be hired from different ethnic and global backgrounds which will provide us with a diverse employee base. This in turn will help us compete at the international level and will help propel our company forward.