Shams Forough is a man of many talents. He was born, raised and spent much of his life in Afghanistan. He spent his young-adult years fighting with the resistance against Afghanistan’s Russian invaders and later traveled to the United States to attend college on a scholarship.
Upon earning his degree, Forough worked as stockbroker in Merrimack, N.H., and later in Salt Lake City. The years passed along smoothly. He made a comfortable life for himself in the United States, met his wife while living in Colorado Springs during the 1990s and settled in.
But following the events of Sept. 11, 2001, Forough saw a need. He returned to his native land to help the U.S. Army as an interpreter and a cultural adviser. Later he worked on projects for the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Eventually, he found his way back to the Springs. He remembered eating at a restaurant in the downtown area called the Persian Grill and thought it was the perfect location for a restaurant. Luckily for Forough, that very spot on East Bijou Street became available earlier this year.
Once again, he switched gears — and occupations. Rumi’s Kabab opened Sept. 5, marking Forough’s first foray into the restaurant business.
Feriba Forough, Sham’s wife is the head chef. Shams provides the service, the conversation and culture, as well as some early-morning preparation work.
Rumi’s Kabab specializes in, well, kababs. The 2,100 square-foot, 35-seat restaurant offers four varieties of kababs: lamb, chicken and two types of beef — plus a unique dessert/appetizer called Kadu (fried and marinated banana squash).
Rumi’s Kabab is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday. But Forough is hoping to open for Sunday brunch soon.. For now, Shams and Feriba are operating the restaurant themselves, along with a few helpers, but no employees.
“It is scary,” Shams said. “We’re taking a risk, but I’m confident that the kind of food we provide is unique and hopefully we’re in the recovery phase of this economy. I’m not looking to get rich, but create a place where people can come, have a good time and learn about the (Afghanistan) part of the world.”
Terry and Jennie Henderson, owners of Boulder Street Gallery, will donate 25 percent of all proceeds generated during the week of Sept. 13-20 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
The campaign is a means for giving back to the organization that provided so much help during Jennie’s battle with breast cancer. She was diagnosed with the disease three years ago.
“She’s in remission now,” Terry said. “But, I’ll never forget. She knitted a hat every day she underwent radiation. Cancer patients lose their hair during chemotherapy so she knitted hats for them. In the meantime, she didn’t miss a beat in our business.”
The Hendersons have owned Boulder Street Gallery for the past 10 years, but have been busy during 2009. They purchased the building at 206 N. Tejon St. during April and spent six weeks remodeling the 1,200-square-foot showroom.
“I wanted to do something to benefit the community and I suggested something to benefit local artists, but Jennie suggested this as a way we could help the Susan G. Komen organization and I agreed,” Terry said.
“This is pretty much a thank you for everything they have done to help me during my cancer treatments and afterward,” Jennie said. And all of the money raised will go to the El Paso, Pueblo and Teller County organizations.”
Scott Prater covers retail for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.