In her new commercial kitchen, Patty Sabol spooned a chunk of oxtail into a hot pan of sizzling oil.
As the meat warmed, Sabol turned to her cutting board to slice carrots and yams, starches often used to soak up the excess liquid and add flavor.
“I want to make sure every American in Concord tastes my food,” Sabol said.
African-born, Sabol grew up cooking traditional East and West African dishes, which often have similar flavors to Caribbean cuisine, she said. Her restaurant on Fort Eddy Road offers some well-known and not-so-well-known dishes like jerk chicken, oxtail, jollof rice and fish banku.
Sabol opened Maddy’s Food Hub last month to bring a taste of home to the growing number of African immigrants and refugees in Concord and surrounding areas.
“The community is so excited; they didn’t have anywhere to eat locally and I wanted to do something to help them,” she said. “I’m hoping it’ll be the biggest African restaurant in all of New Hampshire.”
Sabol also owns Maddy’s African Market on North Main Street where shoppers can purchase traditional African spices, vegetables, meats and pre-made meals, she said. Her market has attracted the attention of people from outside of Concord, including some from Vermont, who can’t get traditional African products elsewhere.
As the market started to expand and more people requested her homemade delicacies, Sabol began to look for a restaurant location.
“I grew out of the space and wanted to find a place to start a restaurant,” she said. “I went to the former owner and asked if I could use his kitchen and he ended up offering me the space.”
By June, Sabol took over the lease and started renovating the interior of the former bacon shop to match her vision for a welcoming, family-style eatery.
But her success as a dual business owner and chef has not been without challenges, including securing licenses and financing. Sabol said she wants to be a model for other Black entrepreneurs in the city.
“It’s hard being a business owner, especially not growing up in America,” she said. “I am the only Black business owner that has come this far and most people don’t know where to start.”
Sabol hopes her cooking brings people together and helps break down barriers.
“This is something that will make our people feel like they’re not different and I want the youth to see that,” Sabol said. “I want them to feel comfortable and I want to show them that this is something we can do, and they can do, too.”