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An Alleyway to Albania

Make your way down Summer Street, cross Main Street and find yourself in what feels like an alleyway. There you will find one of the best kept secrets in Stamford, Çka ka Qëllu (pronounced SHKA-ka kwill-OO).

This Albanian entry into the Stamford restaurant scene opened in late 2021 and is one of three restaurants by the same name owned by Kosovo native, Ramiz Kukaj.

Kukaj, who immigrated to the United States 28 years ago, wanted to introduce his culture to the people of Stamford, a city he says, “reminds me of Europe”.  The low buildings in Stamford felt like home, a mini-Europe. Çka ka Qëllu’s exterior and interior design will transport you straight to Albania.

Designed by Kukaj himself, this restaurant boasts a main dining room, an upstairs balcony seating area, a beautiful outdoor patio and a gorgeous bar that seats five. When you enter the restaurant, you are struck by the stone walls, arched doorways, massive wooden doors, wood beam ceilings, wrought iron railings, chandeliers and old-world artwork dotting the walls.

Kukaj describes Çka ka Qëllu as “not just a restaurant, but also a museum”. There is art and artifacts in glass display cases from the Balkans throughout the restaurant found by Kukaj at antique markets in Albania. Kukaj said, “I left my country when it was burning, left behind dreams. I wanted to bring back objects which survived, bring back my memories.”

If you are looking for a unique dining setting in Stamford, Çka ka Qëllu will not disappoint.

  • Buki, the bartender