Food and Drink

From Palestine to Lyndale: How Baba's Hummus became a Minnesota phenomenon

An exterior photo of Baba's
Baba's, a new Palestinian restaurant, opens in Minneapolis on Saturday.
Sarah Thamer | MPR News

For siblings Rana Kamal and Khalid Ansari, Baba’s is more than just hummus — it’s a love letter to Palestine. 

The Palestinian Americans began selling Baba’s hummus from their food truck at the Minnesota State Fair in 2021. From there, it took off. They now sell Baba’s hummus in more than 600 stores across the Midwest.

Two people pose for photo
Rana Kamal (left) and Khalid Ansari are siblings and co-founders at Baba's, a new Palestinian restaurant that opens in Minneapolis on Saturday.
Sarah Thamer | MPR News

“So we knew that we couldn’t let this opportunity slip. And really, we had been producing our hummus out of the basement of our family restaurant, that Mediterranean Cruise Cafe, for the last four years,” said co-founder Rana Kamal. 

But they outgrew that space and needed a larger production facility. A year and a half later, Baba’s now stands on Lyndale Avenue in Minneapolis’ Wedge neighborhood. Much of the inspiration came from their very own Baba (dad in Arabic). 

“You know, my parents immigrated from Jerusalem in the 70s and 80s,” Kamal said. “They sacrificed so much of their life to be here, to give back to us. And just to see all the work that they’ve put into their lives and their livelihoods for us. This is dedicated to them, and of course to Palestine. We’re Palestinian-Americans and we couldn’t be more proud of that.”

A Ya Salam sign over products for sale
Decor and items for sale at Baba's are a nod to Palestine.
Sarah Thamer | MPR News

Rana and Khalid grew up visiting Palestine and they say Baba’s is a way to bring the two worlds together. The restaurant and cafe sell a variety of foods, including hummus bowls, sandwiches and “mana’eesh,” a popular Middle Eastern meal consisting of dough topped with oregano, cheese or ground meat.

For the Palestinian diaspora in Minnesota, Khalid says the food offers a sense of home. 

“That’s what makes this business so fulfilling, the fact that it comes from the heart. It’s a family business,” Khalid said. “It’s a business that is Palestinian and we’re so proud of the food that comes from there, and the good things that come from there, and to be able to showcase something that other people just think of as a warzone, as something more.”

Baba’s will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Food on a table
Baba's serves dishes like hummus bowls, salads and mana'eesh.
Sarah Thamer | MPR News
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