“I’m still used to taking care of the customer: quality, safety, good service and cleanliness,” he said.
Ahmetaj said he was able to hire a few employees from Pine Cone. “They couldn’t wait,” he said. “They were unemployed and also they really want to go back to this place.”
The community, he said, was also looking forward to the restaurant’s return. “They say, ‘We don’t have a place to go. We got used to being here.’ “
His wife, Halime, helps out at the restaurant and his four children replace him from time to time, he said.
Ahmetaj said he moved to Madison in 1996, the year Money magazine ranked it # 1 US cities to live.
“I remember Madison back then being the best city to raise a family and I’ve always been a family person,” he said.
Ahmetaj said he has been cooking the same type of food at a family-run restaurant for 27 years.
“I’m here not just for business, I’m here for people,” Ahmetaj said.
He said he was always looking for ways to help the community because he was grateful for the United States’ involvement in the liberation of his country in 1999.
“I love this country because this country saved my nation,” Ahmetaj said. “I am dedicated to how and what I can do for the people here.”