“There were two sides to my mother,” Pat Hadavi remembered. “She was a Muslim, and she was a gambler.”
Hadavi recalled his mother’s daily prayers, but said that she did not subscribe to every expectation of Islam. “She was a woman of faith, but when she started playing cards, she had no mercy for anybody.”
Azizeh Jazayeri Tehrani-Hadavi was born in Iraq and lived in Iran most of her life. The Islamic Revolution of 1979 eventually forced her to escape with her family, in order to keep her grandsons from being forced into the military. She was 57 years old.
“They traveled by camel and sometimes hiking, sleeping in caves,” Pat said. “They snuck into Pakistan, and from there went to Greece. After some time they were given visas to come to the United States.”
Cashing in on a Texas real-estate investment they had made years earlier, Tehrani-Hadavi and her husband Nooredin bought the Loaf and Ladle Restaurant on South Main Street in Tulsa.
“My parents had no idea what they were doing,” Hadavi laughed. “They learned everything from scratch. It was 1984, and their customers were mostly people from the church across the street, employees from big office buildings downtown and university students.”
The Loaf and Ladle was a successful lunch-only deli for more than a decade. Its secret ingredient: Tehrani-Hadavi’s good memory.
“She remembered what customers liked, and the next time they would walk in, she would start making it for them again, before they got through the door.”
When she realized that homeless people were going through the restaurant’s trash to eat their leftovers, Tehrani-Hadavi started wrapping the food up nicely and leaving it out beside the garbage cans.
“She didn’t want them to have to eat dirty food,” Hadavi said.