In December 2016 East Tea Can opened it doors to the public at their location at 3115 Winston Churchill Blvd (just north of Dundas). As one of our supporters and sponsors in 2018, we got a chance to sit down with one of the owners, Shakir.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I hold a BSc Degree in Civil Engineering. I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit, starting my first business at the age of 24 with Mahmood, my business partner in East Tea Can as well.
The business was an import and distribution company in Baghdad, Iraq. We imported products from Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt and Italy, like olive oil, loose tea, coffee, canned vegetables and household cleaning supplies, and distributed them directly to retailers in Iraq.
How did you meet Mahmood?
Mahmood and I have been friends since high school. We started our first business together in Iraq back from 2010 to 2015. When the security situation in Iraq began to deteriorate, we had the chance to move to Canada and start all over again. We took it and we’re very happy that we did!
What motivated you to get into the restaurant business?
Three years ago, we moved to Canada from Baghdad, Iraq and within six months of arriving, we decided to open a new restaurant, after realizing that there was a gap in the Middle Eastern restaurant segment.
We have a passion for hospitality, so we started looking for opportunities to express our passion for running our own business, building a strong team and interacting with customers. We are full of energy and love to work long hours. We decided to open East Tea Can to re-define the Middle Eastern Dining Experience to those who haven’t been to the Middle East.
How did you come up with the name East Tea Can?
Inspired by our Middle Eastern culture, where aromatic tea is the pinnacle of every occasion; a symbol of hospitality; and a must-have treat after every delicious meal, comes our name East Tea Can
‘Estikan’ is the Arabic name of a small cup used for drinking tea. It goes back a century ago during the British colonization when it was taken as souvenirs. It originated from the English phrase ‘East Tea Can’ and used to differentiate it from other larger tea cups in the West.
Embedded in the Arabic culture, these tea glasses are unique for their simple handle-less shape. They are made in a diversity of colours and patterns on them.
We have more than six specialty teas designed to help you digest our delicious meals.
What’s your most popular dish?
I would have to say one of our Grill dishes – Iraqi Kabab with freshly baked bread. Our Grills are made from hormone free, non-frozen, halal meat and chicken. All spiced, marinated and grilled to perfection in our kitchen.
We are very thankful for your support of our community as Gold sponsor for 2018. Many of our residents were/will be introduced to East Tea Can through your sponsorship of our Movie Night and Kitefest. Any message for our residents?
We welcome you to come out to the restaurant and give us a try. We’ve created a unique space that you could call a ‘collectors’ heaven’ – a delightful mosaic of authentic elements carefully selected from every corner of the Middle East and brought together to paint a vibrant, authentic experience.
From our colourful mosaic decorated brick oven to the ornamental floor tiles, handmade wooden chairs, and pop style wall art – all put together to create a surprising cultural orchestra for you to enjoy every moment.