|Chef Abdul Kmaiha and wife Maria Almeida celebrate winning $50,000 on a Neon x10 scratch-off.|
Top prize win will help couple open new Lebanese kitchen
Until a few days ago, the married couple who operate the Lebanese kitchen at the New Deal Café in Greenbelt were uncertain about their culinary future. But a $50,000 Maryland Lottery prize is helping to solidify their plans.
Chef Abdul Kmaiha and Maria Almeida have been running the kitchen and serving up tasty fare for nearly nine years at the New Deal Café, a consumer cooperative located in Greenbelt’s historic Roosevelt Center. While the New Deal, which opened in December 1995, will continue operations, Abdul and Maria are in the process of moving on to a new venture. The Rockville couple have been hoping to establish a new restaurant, but they have been concerned about the costs.
“A commercial kitchen is a lot of money,” Maria said.
But their plans began to take shape when Abdul made a series of lucky Maryland Lottery scratch-off purchases. His last lucky Neon x10 scratch-off gave the couple a $50,000 top prize that will allow them to cook up Mediterranean dishes at a new location.
The excitement began when the 64-year-old purchased his first Neon x10 scratch-off at Center Way Mini Mart in Greenbelt. He had a bit of luck and won $5, enough to play again. His second Neon x10 game delivered a $50 prize, enough to pocket part of the prize and purchase two more instant tickets. On this final round, Abdul revealed a 10x symbol and a $5,000 prize, winning $50,000.
He waited for a slow day at the café to tell Maria. The happy husband fished the ticket out and asked her, with a wide smile, if she knew what it meant. The rest is history!
Abdul graduated from a Beirut culinary school and used his talents to travel. He emigrated to the United States nearly 20 years ago and worked as a private chef in the Washington, D.C. metro area. The couple works side by side at the café, with Abdul specializing in Mediterranean entrees and Almeida focusing on desserts.
Players can turn their focus to the lucky store to see if they, too, can find a top-prize win. Center Way Mini Mart located at 109 Centerway Road in in Greenbelt will receive a $500 bonus from the Lottery for selling the last top-prize instant ticket in the $5 game.