If you ask Ed Wahhab he’ll tell you that his most carefree and rewarding moments in life have revolved around feeding people. Alongside wife Maureen and five daughters, Ed has engaged, fed and entertained family and friends for years. Card tricks, jokes and shenanigans of varying hues bring color to an atmosphere already coupled with keenly crafted eats. If you’re lucky he’ll read your fortune in the dried remains of a petite cup of Arabic coffee; a tradition passed down from his mother and tightly associated with Ed’s growing up and the notion that family is tantamount to feeling full.
Sababa is Arabic or Hebrew slang for awesome, cool or fun. Ed chose it as the name for the original Sababa Cafe on State Street, where he and his staff catered private and corporate events and served breakfast and lunch to a bustling noon hour crowd between 2007 and 2019. Sababa at One Park Plaza debuted in 2017, continuing Ed's cultural traditions of hospitality and professional attention to detail.
Sababa is the embodiment of Ed’s present-day dream although curiously connected to where he began. Sababa's original downtown location landed across the street from the classrooms at the Milwaukee School of Engineering where in 1973 Ed was an eager student from Jordan. An electrical engineer in the nuclear power industry for twenty years, Ed moved his growing family across the country eleven times before answering the call of his heart and opening his first café in 1999. Clearly Ed reached for something that would root him in his American home city, anchor his family back in the places where they began and afford them all of the blessings a more laid back vocation could provide. It was simply time to come home and prosper in ways less connected to the bottom line and more closely associated with intrinsic joy.
Adapted from a narrative written by Leslie Rutkowski