Kazi Mannan
WJLA ABC 7

Immigrant restaurant owner Kazi Mannan lets homeless eat for free

This guy’s a real hero

Kazi Mannan is a Pakistani restaurant owner who owns the Sakina Halal Grill in Washington D.C. For the last five years, his policy has been that if anyone is poor or homeless they eat for free at his restaurant. He told WJLA that he gave away more than 16,000 meals at his restaurant. And now he’s getting some much-needed praise after a report of him by ABC 7 went viral. “It’s a big success that it’s changed my life in many ways. It got so much attention from all over the world. I’m overwhelmed and really excited that this message is going viral. What do we do next?” he told WJLA.

To say that it’s an interesting business would be an understatement. Kazi Mannan has to juggle his restaurant finances to make sure it’s profitable after giving away so much food. But he remains optimistic and believes God will show the way, “That question, I ask God every day. How do I keep my business open, growing and making profit?” 

But this hasn’t stopped him from serving the poor because he’s been in their shoes, hungry and not knowing if he was going to eat. Mannan arrived from Pakistan to the United States in 1996 with $5 to his name according to WJLA. “Once upon a time, I was in a similar situation where I didn’t have enough money to eat,” he said. “You pass by a restaurant but never able to go in. When you don’t have money nobody is going to let you in.”

So when he opened his Pakistani restaurant in 2013 he made sure that the homeless felt welcome. They sit with the paying customers and enjoy the same meal and experience as everyone else. If you’re poor and can’t pay, no questions asked, your food is free. It’s not just that he welcomes homeless people, he goes out onto his community to reach out to homeless people to come to his restaurant to eat.

Ever since his story went viral, his restaurant has been packed by customers who wanted to support his cause. That’s in addition to all the wonderful phone calls and emails he received applauding him.

Still, it’s a little overwhelming to Kazi Mannan who is not used to all this attention. But he plans no change to his policy, he just wishes he could expand more so that he can help more people.

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