Sambusas from Afro Deli, a new food vendor at the 2023 Minnesota State Fair. Credit: Minnesota State Fair

Nationally recognized Afro Deli is joining the Minnesota State Fair this year as one of seven new food vendors at The Great Minnesota Get-Together.

“Super excited to share we will be one of the seven new vendors at this year’s #MNStateFair,” Afro Deli tweeted Tuesday. “Find us in the food building on the east wall!”

The fair released a list of new foods and new food vendors Tuesday, adding three ethnic food vendors to its approximately 300 food concessions.

Newcomers for this year’s fair also include MomoDosa, Churros & Aguas Fresca, Bandstand Concessions, Peachey’s Baking Company, Tasti Whip, and Wow Fudge.

This fair will run from Thursday, August 24 to Monday, September 4.

Afro Deli will offer beef, chicken, and veggie sambusas—a savory pastry—at the fair along with dipping sauce. It will also sell sweet plantains, Somali tea, and fresh mango juice.

The African fusion restaurant serves Somali steak sandwiches, chicken curry, gyros, and other foods at four locations in Minneapolis and St. Paul. It also offers “Grab N’ Go” options at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Afro Deli owner Abdirahman Kahin, who was named Minnesota Small Business Person of the Year 2023, wipes a table at one of his restaurants on Friday, March 17, 2023. Credit: Alfonzo Galvan | Sahan Journal

Founder and owner Abdirahman Kahin opened the first Afro Deli location in 2010 in Minneapolis’ Cedar-Riverside neighborhood. He told Sahan Journal in March that he wanted to fill a gap in the Twin Cities food scene.

“The food scene representation was, you know, very slim,” Abdirahman said at the time. “So, I saw an opportunity even though I’m not a chef, but I had that idea.”

Abdirahman was named National Small Business Person of the Year in May. He was named Minnesota’s Small Business Person of the Year in March. 

In recognizing him earlier this year, the U.S. Small Business Administration called him “the best of American entrepreneurship.”

“Abdirahman has pursued the American dream of business ownership—overcoming challenges, launching multiple food businesses, pivoting during COVID, and lifting local neighborhoods along the way,”  the organization’s administrator, Isabella Casillas Guzman, said at the time.

Chicken momos (top) and pakora (bottom) by Midtown Global Market’s MomoDosa, a new food vendor at the 2023 Minnesota State Fair. Credit: Minnesota State Fair

MomoDosa will serve chicken momos and masala dosa, which is a South Indian crepe made of rice and lentil batter and ghee. The dishes will be served with tomato chutney and coconut chutney.

Also on the menu: veggie pakora and mango lassi, a mango smoothie.

A churro by Churros & Aguas Fresca, a new food vendor at the 2023 Minnesota State Fair. Credit: Minnesota State Fair

Churros & Aguas Fresca will serve bags of churros with caramel or fudge sauce, according to the fair website. Churros can also be filled with strawberry, Nutella, or Bavarian cream. Ice cream is also available for those wanting a churro sundae.

Aguas frescas, a sweetened fruit and water beverage, will be available in watermelon, mango, pineapple, and strawberry lime flavors.

The fair is also adding 34 official new foods this year between new and existing vendors. In total, about 500 foods will be available at nearly 300 different concession locations throughout the fairgrounds. 

A full list of new foods and vendors is available on the fair website.

Alfonzo Galvan is a reporter for Sahan Journal, covering work, labor, small business, and entrepreneurship. Before joining Sahan Journal, he covered breaking news and immigrant communities in South Dakota,...