Posted on July 3,2018
Our last feature was on Shane Braatz and Svaar, owner of Knights Chamber for our #MyDowntownRochMN campaign. This week we sat down with Ahmed Makkawy to get his take on all things Downtown Rochester, MN. Plus, we learned some very interesting information about the banking industry as we also interviewed PJ from Think Bank.
Samantha: Hi Ahmed, thanks for sitting down to talk for our #MyDowntownRochMN campaign!
Ahmed: Thanks Samantha, I’m excited to gush what I think makes Downtown Rochester so great.
Samantha: Perfect, let’s start with an easy question, can you tell me just a little bit about you and your family?
Ahmed: Well, I am 35 years old and married. Together we have a five-month-old son named Jonas. Although he is pretty young, he is already showing interest in being outdoors (all the time) and has taken many trips with us Downtown! I work at the Mayo Clinic as Senior User Experience Designer and am also the owner of Saharafox Creative Agency. Between the two, I am always working Downtown. I enjoy working Downtown because of the many places to grab coffee or a bite with clients, have them come in for in-person meetings, or even just run quick errands.
Samantha: So convenient, let’s say you are taking a client out for lunch or coffee, where do you go?
Ahmed: Oye – that’s a tough question; there are so many! For coffee, we’d head to either Old Abe’s Coffee Cart on 2nd Street or Café Steam. For food, Palms Middle Eastern Restaurant, Pescara for the seafood, or head to Chester’s Kitchen & Bar.
Samantha: Those all sound great. What types of events and activities bring you Downtown outside of work?
Ahmed: Almost everything! Music, evenings with friends, foodie excursions and more. Thursdays on First & 3rd is my CAN’T MISS, because it really represents a broad spectrum of Rochester cuisine and socializing. The Downtown Farmers Market is another favorite as the wonderful smells and vibrant diversity of vendors puts a big smile on my face – a great way to start my Saturday.
Samantha: We’ve learned a few of your favorite events and restaurants, but what are some of your favorite whos and whats that make your Downtown experience so great?
Ahmed: There are so many great people Downtown. PJ at Think Bank is an individual that goes out of his way for his Downtown customers. Jamie Sundsbak, of Collider Coworking, is another who takes the time to help local entrepreneurs thrive Downtown. The people who work Downtown are what truly make the business. And, although I live in Rochester, I always recommend the Doubletree Hotel when friends and family come to visit because of their comfortable rooms, amenities, access to the skyway, and the chocolate chip cookies on arrival!
Want to learn more about PJ and how he treats his customers? Check out our #MyDowntownRochMN featuring Think Bank by clicking here.
Samantha: Those cookies are to die for! Downtown Rochester has so much to see and do, but if you only had 24 hours to create a perfect day, what would you do?
Ahmed: Let's say it was a Saturday... Ideally, I'd wake up early and catch a bite and some browsing at the Downtown Farmers Market. Thereafter, I'd do a loop on the trail to circle Downtown along the Zumbro River. Around lunch I'd take my family to Palms for some kabobs, wrapped grape leaves, and falafel. Mid-afternoon I'd meet friends downtown to catch up over some coffee. Once evening hits, it's time for dinner at Terza Ristorante. I'd probably do dessert at Chester's - a big slice of chocolate cake topped with vanilla ice cream is the way to go. Afterwards, being a big fan of the local music scene, I'd invite my family to meet with friends and let the night take us on a whirlwind of the Downtown music scene. Stages in several establishments are playing all kinds of music and I, thankfully, usually like it all. Some music, dancing, and laughter into the wee hours of the night goes a long way to fill the soul.
Looking for other live music and events happening Downtown? Take a look at our event calendar.
Samantha: That sure sounds like a fun-filled Saturday, so fun that it blends into Sunday. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us.
Want more #MyDowntownRochMN stories? Check out the links below.
Disclaimer: the views, comments, and opinions located within this blog are those of the community individual, not those of the Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA).