APPLETON (NBC26) — Ezzeldin Ismail, or known by most as "Ezz," first started selling his homemade Falafel, stuffed grape leaves and baklava out of a food truck at the Downtown Appleton Farm Market nine years ago.
"I always tell people, food for Egyptians and the Middle East is not just food," he said. It's kind of a way of the culture."
The community here was curious about him and his food, said Ismail. Four years after starting out, he was able to opened Egyptian Delights Cafe.
"People love to ask questions," he said. "People love to know kind of how we deal with the community here, how we deal with life."
Hoping to give the cafe a flavor from home, beyond the food, he covered the walls in Egyptian and Middle Eastern relics.
"I would picture myself being there," said Linda Plamann, Ismail's sister-in-law. "They draw you in and take you to Egypt."
This April is a time for people to celebrate Arab-Americans in their community, said Plamann.
"They are here to better their lives," she said. "They want to do good."
Ismail hopes to show people who they truly are, he said.
"Middle eastern or Egyptian or Muslims are not hostile to American people," said Ismail. "When they come here, when they come to establish new life, they come here to be regular and normal members of the community."
Since coming to the U.S., and to the Fox Valley, he's felt a sense of belonging and family, he said.
"They give me a very good, warm, welcoming feeling," said Ismail. "I didn't feel kind of a stranger or foreigner among them."
Egyptian Delights is open Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.