At Trump Grill, one of the Trump-branded restaurants inside Trump Tower, the entrees include a $34 filet mignon, a $22 Platinum Label burger and a $21 Mar-A-Lago club sandwich. At Trump restaurant in Kobani, Syria, the menu includes falafel sandwiches and…falafel sandwiches.
Yes, Waleed Shekhi, a well-meaning (or possibly misguided) Syrian Kurdish man, named his restaurant after the 45th President, in the hopes that the Trump name will help his business. He told a Kurdish news outlet that he wanted to express his gratitude to the United States for helping the Kurds in their ongoing fight against ISIS.
"He is the leader of the United States, the greatest country in the world," Shekhi told ARA News. "We Kurds love the United States, so we love Donald Trump. That's why I named my restaurant after him."
This video was made in January, so no word how business is doing since the U.S. launched more than 50 tomahawk missiles on Syria earlier this week.
Shekhi told Kurdistan24 that the restaurant was just one of many jobs he had held in the past couple of years as he—and the city itself—try to piece themselves back together after years of conflict. He opened Trump almost exactly two years after the People's Protection Units (YPG), the Free Syrian Army, Peshmerga soldiers and some U.S. led-airstrikes joined forces to liberate Kobani from ISIS rule. (The U.S. Air Force has a recently expanded air base close to Kobani, which is in northern Syria, near the Turkish border).
"Herculean efforts have cleared the streets, but water and power have yet to be restored," The Atlantic wrote of Kobani last October. "Although commerce is trickling back to life (some businesses even have glass storefront windows once again), more than half of the residential structures still standing are little more than blown out concrete shells."
The Trump restaurant does have glass windows. "I am hopeful I will make a profit from this small eatery because my wife and I serve delicious sandwiches, and moreover the name is attractive," Shekhi said. (According to the United Nations Statistics Division, the average Syrian earns around $1,820 every year. Shekhi would have to work for a week to afford the filet mignon at his restaurant namesake's namesake restaurant).
Trump isn't the first Trump-themed restaurant to open in the Middle East in recent months. In December, Trump Fish became the hottest restaurant in Duhok, a city in Iraqi Kurdistan. (It's roughly 310 miles from Kobani, in case you're planning a RoadTrump.)
True to its name, Trump Fish has only one item on the menu: masgûf , a wood-grilled carp that is considered to be the national dish of Iraq. Nedyar Zawity, the 31-year-old owner of Trump Fish, told Reuters that he loved Trump and hoped he could open a second Trump-themed restaurant in the United States. "Give me a visa and I will go tomorrow," he said.