In a testing time, when countries are shutting borders, far-right tendencies are prevailing, and equal rights seem about as achievable as time travel, one quaint restaurant in the Dutch province of Utrecht is standing up against it all. Proving that every person and every business can do its part, SYR is the Netherlands’ first restaurant with a firm dedication to hiring newly-arrived Syrian and Afghan refugees.
Running the tagline of ‘food that tastes good and does good’, the little corner eatery opened last year thanks to a crowdsourcing effort that saw more than 500 people invest in the deliciously worthy cause. Bustling ever since, the cuisine is Syrian with a European twist, with dishes like green pea falafel, tabbouleh and traditional ‘Sambusek’ pastries often accompanied by workshops, storytelling nights and regular debates.
A glimmer of hope in these strangely unstable days, the crowdfunding needed to get SYR underway took just three weeks, proving that there are many, many people out there wanting to make a change for the better. What those changes will be, it seems is up to us.