To be honest, I really only went to Road to Morocco to pick the brain of the owner before my trip to Marrakech. I only even vaguely knew it existed – its location seems a bit odd and out of the way unless you work at the water company downtown. But my friend and travel companion for the trip Tracy suggested we meet there for dinner and to finalize our trip details (which really, of course, means to drink wine and squeal with excitement).
Walking into the boutique/café on Chestnut transported me instantly out of downtown Louisville and into an Arabian nights fantasy. All the goodies you’d expect to find a souk in Marrakech fill the store like a treasure chest in Ali Baba’s cave. Were I not set to board a plane for Morocco for real, I’d have been sorely tempted by the lanterns, jewelry, scarves and loads of other North African handiwork.
Luckily for us, Abdeljalil (Eddie) Maamry, the store’s owner, was more than willing to chat with us. First though, we sipped a glass of white Moroccan wine and ate a light dinner of Mediterranean foods – hummus, babagnooj, stuffed grape leaves, feta and olives to start, then a pita sandwich for each of us. I was happy to find the prices very affordable – most items were well under $10. The menu is not predominantly Moroccan, but Mediterranean instead – Eddie says he tries Moroccan specialties from time to time but that local diners prefer the foods drawn from the entire region.
After we ate Eddie pulled up a chair at our request and most kindly fed us full of information for our trip, even going so far as to tell us where his family had lived (I nodded and smiled as if would ever be able to find the house). If Moroccans in Marrakech are as hospitable and warm as Eddie, we are going to be in good shape. He patiently helped us with some Arabic phrases we’ll need to know. My favorite: hahmdellelilah, the response you give when asked how you’re doing (this is my phonetic spelling, I haven’t the faintest idea how one would actually spell it).
He gave us his card and asked us to send him a postcard. We promised to return after our trip. And if I miss the surroundings of Marrakech after my trip, I’ll make it a point to return again and again to sit at the lacquered wood table by the henna lamp and conjure myself back down the road to Morocco.
Road to Morocco
308 W Chestnut St (3rd And Chestnut St @ the Henry Clay Building)
Tues-Thur 11-7 Fri & Sat 11-10pm closed Mon & Sun