As a child Mohammad Borzai led a happy life surrounded by family and friends. As is the case with many successful storeowners on Devon Ave., Borzai's family too moved out to the suburb of Morton Grove. He continued to visit Devon Ave. intermittently for cultural events as well as to be at the restaurant. He attended high school in Skokie, a culturally diverse institution with students from Pakistan and India. He also attended Muslim Education Center (MEC) as a young boy. Even though Mohammed focuses on the sweeter memories of his childhood, there were hard times that befell the Borzais. In the wake of 9/11, the Pakistani population in Devon started migrating back home or moved the Canada. This exodus also harmed their business. Another cause for the loss of business on Devon Avenue was the migration to suburbs.
Mohammed is now 27 years old, with two young children. His four-year-old son, Mustafa, enjoys going to his grandfather’s store just as Mohammed did as a young boy. Mohammed runs his father's restaurant and recently opened a new branch southside, at the University of Illinois (UIC) campus.
Text by Holland Dvorak and Niyati Naik
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