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The Yum Project: Get a Taste of Somerville’s Immigrant-Run Restaurants

Somerville is celebrated for its diverse immigrant population, and different flavors and cuisines at local restaurants truly illustrate the beauty and vibrancy of our Massachusetts town. The Welcome Project, a non-profit organization that promotes immigrant advocacy and education organization, created the YUM Restaurant Card program in 2009 to support local, immigrant-run restaurants.

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“[The] YUM is a program that aims to promote cultural exchange through food. People are being exposed to all of these great immigrant-run restaurants in Somerville and the card hopefully encourages to try them all out,” says Madeleine Pelton A16, a Tisch Scholar whose project involves working with the YUM Project. “This helps the restaurant owners as well as raises awareness for the Welcome Project. It is a beneficial relationship for both parties involved.”

The card, which costs ten dollars, provides discounts at participating restaurants, supports the local economy and small businesses, and funds programs at The Welcome Project for immigrant youth and adults, such as English classes and interpretation certifications. It is currently valid at eleven local restaurants, with cuisines ranging from Ethiopian to Central American.

Every spring, The Welcome Project hosts a fundraiser and celebration to publicize the restaurants and raise money for its programs, as well as recognize organizations that support the diversity of Somerville. The event features tastings from each restaurant, live music, and a silent auction. Last year, the East Somerville Community School PTA was awarded the first annual Intercultural City Award for their work with immigrant parents and families.

“The event is such a great opportunity to get a taste of all of the incredible immigrant owned restaurants that can be found in Somerville,” said Claire Lamnek A14, who volunteered with the event two years ago.

Below is a list of participating restaurants in the YUM program. If you are interested in buying a card, please reach out to Madeleine.Pelton@tufts.edu.

Look for information on “YUM: A Taste of Immigrant City” in the Spring on Tasty Tufts.

Aguacate Verde: Mexican | Porter Square
13 Elm Street, Somerville MA 02143
Open Tue-Sat 11am – 9pm; Sun 10:30am – 7pm

Fasika: Ethiopian | East Somerville
147 Broadway, Somerville MA 02145
Open Mon-Thu 5:30pm – 10pm; Fri 5:30pm – 11pm; Sat-Sun 2pm – 11pm

Gauchao: Brazilian | East Somerville
102 Broadway, Somerville MA 02145
Open Mon-Sun 7am – 11pm

Masala: Indian and Nepali | Teele Square
1127 Broadway, Somerville MA 02144
Open Mon-Sun 11am – 11pm

Istanbul’lu: Turkish | Teele Square
237 Holland Street, Somerville MA 02144
Open Tues 5pm – 10pm; Wed-Sat 11am – 10pm; Sun 11am – 9pm

Los Paisanos: Central American | East Somerville
62 Broadway, Somerville MA 02145
Phone: 617-629-3502

Maya Sol: Mexican | East Somerville
179 Broadway, Somerville MA 02145
Phone: 617-776-9179

The Neighborhood Restaurant: Portuguese | Union Square
25 Bow Street, Somerville MA 02143
Mon-Sun 7am – 4pm

Sabur: Mediterranean | Teele Square
212 Holland Street, Somerville MA 02144
Phone: 617-776-7890

Yak and Yeti: Nepali and Indian |
719 Broadway, Somerville MA 02144
Phone: 617-284-6227

-Sarah Tralins

Photos courtesy of the Yum Project.

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