fb pixel

Impacting Local Businesses - Les Saj Restaurant

Adam the owner by the counter

In 2016, Adam Tayfour saw a gap in Winnipeg’s culinary landscape that had yet to be filled—across a range of choices, few home-grown establishments offered Middle-Eastern food for those looking to get a bite on their break or in between class. Inspired by this lack of representation and determined to make the opportunity count, Adam co-founded Les Saj, a restaurant built on connecting Winnipeggers to the Middle-Eastern eats they didn’t know they were missing.

Six years on and Les Saj now has two locations operating in the city, the original restaurant on the Eastern edge of St. James, and their second location across from The University of Winnipeg downtown. Despite only opening in May of 2022, Les Saj is fast becoming a fan favourite for staff and students working and studying on campus. In the eight months since opening, Adam is happy to say the restaurant has already helped cater orientation week at the start of fall term and Cultural Day in October. Adam notes, “we love being part of the downtown space, and the University’s presence has helped drive traffic to our new location. During the pandemic, many businesses have had to close—it’s thanks to the outpouring of support from our community and opportunities related to the university that we have been able to remain connected to this city and encourage future customers to try Les Saj.”

When asked about the impact that closing the University had on local business during the height of the pandemic, Adam comments that, “for growing businesses like ours, we’d have missed out on chances down the road to work with the University and serve its customers. Having a university anywhere, especially downtown, helps breathe life into the surrounding neighborhood. Without it, we’d see a lack of business-related initiative in the area.”

Moving forward, Adam hopes to grow the Les Saj brand and reach customers outside of Winnipeg. In the coming year, he plans on working with external investors to open a third location and bring his slice of Middle-Eastern tastes to Steinbach.