credits this page: Salaam logo Lynch Graphics All photography Hilarie Burhans except Ry, Waiting (unknown)
HILARIE BURHANS (co-owner, executive chef) grew up in Arizona, Wisconsin, Pakistan, Massachusetts, Ethiopia, and Athens, Ohio. She worked as a cook in private homes in New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Washington DC, and in several small restaurants, then began a catering business and worked full time as a Culinary Arts instructor for many years... all while maintaining a life as a professional musician. Hilarie's flair for design and love of ethnic fabrics and tilework is evident in the visually rich decor of the restaurant. Her desire to help the less fortunate has led her to involvement in many fundraising activites. And Hilarie's love of "real food and big flavors" is evident in every dish she serves.
MARK BURHANS (co-owner) brings a lifetime of useful skills to the restaurant, from construction to handyman to bookkeeping. Mark's design sense (he holds a BFA in woodworking) is also evident in the careful attention to detail in the restaurant decor, and he served as general contractor for the transformation of the empty space (that was once Athens Office Supply) to Restaurant Salaam. Mark is also a musician, who plays swing fiddle with the Coolville Hot Club and trombone in the Wild Honeybees, both of which feature our daughter Emily Singer on vocals. Mark and Hilarie were high school sweethearts, and still enjoy working together!
RYLAND BURHANS is the third partner of Burhans Enterprises LLC, and bakes the great bread we serve. When not baking bread or working in the kitchen, he's making music... these days mostly old-time fiddle, but he's also done a lot of playing and singing Trinidadian calypsos on banjo uke, musette on chromatic button accordion, blues and jazz piano, or pretty much anything on guitar. He also spends a lot of time cuddling with our three dogs and a cat, or just making us laugh!
We feel ourselves to be inordinately blessed to have such a devoted and capable staff. Truly. We work hard to deserve the respect and loyalty they show us every day. We’ve come a long way in the short time since we opened here at 21 W. Washington Street in April of 2009, after a short stint of owning and operating a much smaller restaurant (and hookah café) with the entrance in an alley a block away. And we couldn't have done it without you, our loyal customers. We know we screw up sometimes, and if it's happened to you, please accept our apologies and know that we're trying every day to be the restaurant where WE would want to eat. And to all of you who have been SO gracious and encouraging and have let us know when your food and service have been everything you could ask for, THANK YOU! It's kind of a hard business to be in, some days, but you make it all worthwhile.