It was 10 years ago, on February 23 2001 to be exact, that ‘Friends the Restaurant’ first opened its doors to a hungry and expectant public. Over those ten years it has more than met those expectations and grown into an internationally recognized culinary destination for those who are traveling through Phnom Penh, a must visit for travelers, expats and indeed locals alike. They come there not only for the food, which is of course fresh, feisty and delicious in the ‘Friends’ tradition, but also in the knowledge that eating at ‘Friends’ helps the students who work and serve there achieve their goal of being skilled and independent wage earners themselves. When you sit in the buzzing dining area beneath the vivid colors of the students’ artwork sipping one of ‘Friends’ legendary frozen cocktails and nibbling at some of the tantalizing tapas on offer you are also participating in and contributing to what has been an amazing journey for these young people, from a risky life on the streets to a future with real promise. The proceeds from the restaurant are invested into Friends-International programs for marginalized young people, combining social support, education and training in a proven package that brings them back from the margins of society to lead productive and fulfilling lives.
So, huge thanks to all the amazing staff and customers past, present and future – Happy 10th Birthday to ‘Friends the Restaurant’ – and let’s raise a Raspberry Daiquiri to the next ten years!