A family business serves Mediterranean food with “giving hearts”
A new venture offering Moroccan and Mediterranean cuisine at 186 Main Street in Northampton is slated to open early this summer. The owners at Meriyem’s—Rania Yetts, her mother Meriyem, and Rania’s husband Caleb— hope to provide delicious fresh options, whether it’s coffee to go, a bite to eat, or catering for an event. The storefront also will sell artisanal handmade and imported home goods from Morocco in the back “Bazaar.”
The owners operated a catering business in Salem beginning in 2022, focusing on Mediterranean foods, with specialties from Rania’s and Meriyem’s home country of Morocco, as well as menu items from Italy and Greece. They operated out of leased kitchen space in Salem and recently won The Knot’s Best of Weddings and Couples’ Choice awards for 2023. However, they wanted to have their own commercial kitchen to grow the catering business in the Connecticut River Valley. The Franklin County CDC has provided capital for fitting out the kitchen and other startup costs for the project. Mariyem’s is also seeking support through a crowdsourcing program
The trio embraces cooking and serving food while valuing relationships with clients, excellent quality of ingredients, integrity, and working with “open hands and giving hearts,” according to their website
“My highest hope for my business is to merge my cultures together and showcase my Moroccan/Berber heritage with this community and beyond,” says Rania. “I would love for Meriyem’s to become a destination spot that people come from all over to experience.”
Rania herself found comfort in her mother’s cooking throughout her life. “I grew up in the projects, in poverty with five other siblings and my mother never once made us feel like we were lacking in any way,” she says. “Our meals were always extravagant and delicious. My mother took to gardening and was always experimenting with different herbs, and vegetables to see how she could add a Moroccan twist to some comfort American food dishes.
“I truly believe there is no better way to share my heritage than through food,” she continues. “So many strangers turned into family over a meal. Food is powerful and spiritual to me.”
The Franklin County CDC is excited to be part of this venture. “We are so fortunate that we get to work with the Franklin County CDC,” she says. “When others wouldn’t even give us the time of day, the FCCDC stepped in to support us not only monetarily but helped set us up for success by answering all our questions and giving us amazing resources.”
Stay tuned for their opening!