“Though very small at just forty square metres, the café was always full,” Rizvan says. “And that’s largely due to the pastries my dad was making right next door. People came from all over Baku morning, noon and evening, and the café where his mother could always be counted on for the best cup of tea in the land, was the best place to catch up on the latest gossip whilst enjoying a scrumptious ‘shekerbura’ or two, or perhaps three. These sweet pastries filled with almonds and many other good things, Rizvan learned to make at his father’s side in the bakery. On afternoons he would be in the café waiting on tables and learning the subtle mechanics of importance of being friendly and service oriented. You can’t imagine the drama when they were out of honey-drenched ‘pakhlava’.
“By the time my father passed the reins on to me, I already had a few ideas for the business. And the first one was to see a bank about taking our bakery-café combination to the next level,” Rizvan remembers.
That was seven years and nine loan cycles with Access Bank ago. Today ‘Mahir Lahmachun’ is synonymous with excellent food in a friendly family atmosphere in prime locations in Kachmaz, Qusar, Khudat as well as in the larger city of Quba where Rizvan just opened a second restaurant.
“When I took over, we were eight people working in the business. Now we are twenty-two. And we are going to start producing packed sweets, too,” he beams.