by Kate Petersen, contributing writer
Living in eastern Afghanistan until age 23, Saboor had plans to come to the US to attend college. April 1978 was the height of the Saur Revolution in Afghanistan. The country was extremely hostile, and it was a difficult time to leave. Still with the support of his family, and only $300 in hand, Saboor successfully made the move to Logan to attend Utah State University.
While attending school, Saboor found work locally as a dishwasher at Sambo’s restaurant (which occupied the space now known as Angie’s). That year, a man who worked as a janitor at USU and was a regular to Sambo’s, invited Saboor to his family’s home for Thanksgiving dinner. Although he knew very little about the American holiday, Saboor was appreciative of the invitation and felt of the family’s goodness and the good meal. That feeling was something Saboor never forgot.
Saboor worked his way up the restaurant chain of command first as a cook, then as assistant store manager and, after graduating from USU with a degree in business, he became a Sambo’s district manager. Sambo’s eventually went bankrupt and many locations were forced to close. With ties to his wife’s family in Cache Valley, Saboor took out a small business loan and bought the Logan restaurant in 1983. He renamed the restaurant Angie’s after his then 2-year-old daughter, and he and his wife worked long hours cooking, waiting tables and managing the restaurant to keep the business afloat. The hard work paid off and Angie’s has successfully been in business ever since, now with a team of over 75 employees.
Saboor’s story is one of remarkable courage, dedication and hard work toward achieving his vision of owning his own independent, family-run restaurant. But, when talking with Saboor about his success, it is apparent that he hasn’t forgotten where he came from and the goodness he has been offered. Serving his family and the community are what is most important to him.
Saboor values building relationships with his employees (several who have worked at Angie’s for more than 20 years and many who lovingly refer to him as “Dad”). He takes time to get to know them, support them personally and professionally and to teach them the value of a strong work ethic. He also enjoys getting to know his loyal patrons, some of which dine at Angie’s three times a day, seven days a week. If there’s someone he is used to seeing and doesn’t, Saboor often contacts them to make sure they are okay, and will even deliver food to their doorstep if they are ill on occasion.
Remembering his first humble Thanksgiving in Cache Valley, and now that he is in a position to make a difference, Saboor has been paying it forward for the last 25 years. Each Thanksgiving, Angie’s Restaurant closes its doors to businesses and opens them to the community for a free Thanksgiving feast. Anyone and everyone is invited to dine for free on Thanksgiving, whether they can afford to pay or not. Those who can, often make donations to a charity selected by Saboor and his management team. More than 1,000 people usually attend.
When a customer walks into Angie’s they’re served more than a meal; they experience a feel-good environment that nourishes the value of good conversation, quality service and meaningful connections. That’s the kind of meal that really feeds the soul.