By Melody Chan, France-Amerique Magazine

"When studying journalism at Columbia University, Aaron Lee never imagined he would become, in his wife’s words, “a Southwest Georgia boy who’s now the king of couscous in New York.” However, just a few years later, he owns and operates Bar Omar in Williamsburg, a dimly-lit restaurant in Brooklyn with a menu famous for its French-Algerian couscous and tagines.

Bar Omar owner Aaron Lee (right) and French-Algerian chef Pierre Rougey. © Melody Cha

The restaurant was started to replicate its parent location in Paris, Chez Omar. The French joint was one of the first to introduce North-African dishes to city-dwellers in the late 1970s and its founder and owner, Omar Guerda, is loved and remembered by many. Aaron Lee came into the family business when he married Omar’s daughter, Yasmina Guerda, after they met at Columbia University. The couple opened the New York location in February 2016, and now that Yasmina has stepped aside to work at the United Nations in Nigeria, Aaron is in charge of making sure the restaurant stays true to its Algerian and French roots. The aim of the restaurant is to give the much-loved Parisian brasserie a second home in the United States and the menu stays faithful to family-recipes passed down through the Guerdas for generations..."

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