Almost 5 years ago we moved to Ottawa. I came about 8 weeks ahead of my good man to find housing and get us settled.
After a brief search and viewing only 3 apartments, I quickly chose a great space in Sandy Hill. I moved myself in with the kitchen table and a futon that posed as a bed until my furniture arrived 2 weeks later.
Within walking distance to my downtown office, the Byward Market and Rideau Centre, I thought I was in the perfect place. I came to discover so many more wonderful things about living here, including great neighbours, a pub we fell in love with, and Ayoub’s.
Ayoub’s seemed to be the heart and soul of the neighbourhood. A busy family market that sold fresh fruits and vegetables along with organic product, a deli counter and items made in their little catering kitchen at the back of the store. The best hummus, zatar and tabouleh to be found but what stole my heart, and sold me the instant I saw it was my absolute favourite yogurt (yes it was that simple)!
The first time I visited Ayoub’s I ended up with about $60 worth of groceries and much to my dismay realized I left my wallet at home. The first thing they did was try to send me away with my groceries and my promise to return and pay. I was stunned, could not believe they were saying that to me, they didn’t even know me. I had lived in the neighbourhood for less than a week. I took the groceries, went home and returned to pay right away. I have been a devoted Ayoub’s fan ever since.
One morning in our second year here, I was walking to catch the bus and saw plumes of smoke coming from Somerset East. When I reached the corner my heart literally sank, Ayoub’s was on fire and it looked really bad. It was bad. Our lovely neighbourhood was heart-broken and a wonderful family was devastated and had lost their business. I can’t imagine what the last 3 year’s has been like for them.
Let’s fast track. 3 long years later and with much anticipation the southwest corner of Somerset East and Blackburn is alive and thriving once again. Ayoub’s is now open (a little celebration last Sunday was just what we all needed) and all is good again in Sandy Hill. Welcome back good people, it’s wonderful to see your beautiful smiling faces once again. xoxo