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Norfolk restaurant owner celebrates 20 years following his dream

Omar's Carriage House in Norfolk is celebrating 20 years in business.

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) --- This month, Omar’s Carriage House in Norfolk is celebrating 20 years in business.

That also means 20 years of success for the man behind the restaurant’s name.

Omar’s Carriage House, known for its history, eclectic décor and seafood is owned by Omar Boukhriss.

He grew up in Morocco then moved to the states in his early 20’s.

His dad’s dream was for him to become an accountant, but Boukhriss had other plans.

“When my mom was still alive I called her one day and said, ‘Mom, I’m going to follow my dream.’”

After following his wife to Norfolk, Boukhriss got a job working under the late Elliot Juren, then owner of Elliot’s restaurant on Colley Avenue.

Boukhriss waited tables, became an assistant manager and eventually general manager before venturing out on his own.

“Perseverance and hard work along with the help of a lot of people,” said Boukhriss. “I opened my own restaurant.”

It was called Maude’s House at the time before Bouhkriss changed it back to its original name Carriage House.

He then added his name to the title so people knew where he was.

“It’s a Moroccan boy coming from Morocco and living the American dream,” said Bouhkriss.