The Success Story Of Fine’s Beak

May 6, 2009

Remember Fine’s Beak? I told you it was the best place in Paris to get a Grec/Doner Kebab in this post. I just got back from there after having a very interesting conversation with the co-founder El Hady. That, and an incredibly awesome chicken kebab marinated in curry and eaten alongside fries dipped in “Andalouse” sauce for 5.90 Euros – to die for.

I’d say I probably pop in about twice to three times a week to check out what Khalil and my fellow immigrants are up to, and to get a quality and cheap meal at the same time. And since I tend to go at night, I usually hang out with Khalil, but today I went a little earlier and shared by authentic and tasty experience with Khalil’s partner, El Hady. I had seen him before, but we’ve never really “broken the ice” or bonded until this afternoon.

Like many Arabs, Tunisians are very fond of Egyptians, and believe in the Egyptian dream. What can you expect? If you don’t live in Egypt, it’s a lot easier to idealize what it means to be Egyptian, and see it as the Romans used to see Rome. Obviously, when you spend time there, you realize that the Egyptian government has done nothing but completely destroyed the country and has left it in ruins. Politics aside, El Hady was happy to share with me his traveling experiences when he ventured a road trip (via microbuses and public transportation) from Tunis, capital of Tunisia, to Fayoum, Egypt. His final destination wasn’t precisely Fayoum, it’s just that it was the last stop before we started heading back. The total time he spent in Egypt was about 15 days, and he had nothing but good memories in the land of the Pyramids.

He told me stories about how every single person he came across helped him out. People would give him directions, exchange phone numbers, and call him later to make sure he arrived safely. Not to mention that he enjoyed some homemade food via the numerous invites that he received from random people. Of course a taxi tried to rip him off at one point, but even then a fellow passenger intervened and saved him. It’s very refreshing when you hear such stories from others who have been to Egypt. It makes me realize Egypt’s importance in the Arab world, and it also makes me realize how much potential we have, in contrast to our current state.

So El Hady and Khalil have opened Fine’s Beak about 10 months ago (which is why it doesn’t appear on Google Maps if you go on street view, hence not being able to post a picture of it, but I will try to get one for you all soon). Basically, they are open every single day from 10am till about 2am. What happens is that El Hady opens the place in the morning, and stays until about 6 or 6:30 in the evening, which is when Khalil comes to take over, and they might overlap for a few minutes before the shift is handed over. Khalil then works until shutting at around 2 am. Hard workers. The only time of the week when they close is Friday morning, for the prayer, for about 1.5hours.

Each one is granted about 25 days of holiday a year, during which case the other has to work both shifts. And we complain that the weekend ends too fast.

It is kind of sad that they don’t get to enjoy Paris that much, and they definitely don’t have the ability to travel around. But at the same time, this is like the land of opportunity for them. And apparently the business is going well (their delicious taste is becoming a trademark!).

I can’t wait to go back next, but I’ve been trying to maintain myself to avoid spending too much on the long term, but more importantly, to avoid the slightest of chances that I lose my strong passion towards them if I visit too often.

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