Abdilahi Hassan's fast-casual restaurant will showcase Somali cuisine.
The North Market announced today that Hoyo’s Kitchen, a family-owned Somali restaurant, will join the historic market this spring. The fast-casual spot will take over the space vacated last year by Better Earth, across from Little Eater.
Hoyo’s Kitchen owner Abdilahi Hassan (who also goes by A.B.) first opened the North Side restaurant in 2014 with his mother, Hayat Dalmar, to celebrate her cooking. Hoyo means "mother" in Somali.
“It’s truly humbling to be given the opportunity to showcase Somali cuisine,” Hassan said in a press release. “It’s our belief that Hoyo’s Kitchen can and will play an integral part in bringing a whole new dynamic to a fast-growing and diverse food scene.”
Hoyo’s North Market menu will be an abbreviated version of its original menu, serving “slow-cooked food served fast,” Hassan said in an interview. Customers can build a bowl starting with two kinds of rice, a vegan rice or more traditional rice cooked in broth. Hassan expects to serve two chicken dishes, plus a goat option and a beef option. Wraps using the traditional Somali flatbread sabaayad will be on the menu, as well as sambusas, triangular stuffed pastries that are similar to Indian samosas.
“African food in general is underrepresented on Main Street,” Hassan says, adding that young Somalis who grow up in the U.S. want to make sure their food is “represented the right way.”
“The addition of Hoyo’s Kitchen to the historic North Market is much bigger than simply a story about food,” said North Market executive director Rick Harrison Wolfe in Thursday’s announcement. “The Somali community is a vital part of the fabric of Columbus and now the Somali cultural experience is moving from the edges of our community to find a home in the heart of our city."
Hassan, who has five siblings who are also involved in the restaurant, says that the family’s North Side location at 5788 Columbus Square will remain open.