Best Book About the Best Restaurant

Maybe the only thing better than a delicious meal from Hendersonville staple Café Rakka is learning the story of its chef, Riyad Alkasem, and his family. Chef Riyad’s path from Syria to Sumner County is a bumpy triumph of faith, luck and good old-fashioned immigrant hustle, and his tale unspools irresistibly from Jordan Ritter Conn’s capable hands. Among the many things Ritter Conn’s The Road From Raqqa does well: It makes an ancient city half a world away, which many of us have only seen as a bombed-out shell, come alive as a place of lazy river swims, courtyard stargazing and unbreakable love. STEVE HARUCH

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