The El Morocco was originally a small 3-table coffeeshop opened in 1943 by Lebanese immigrant Paul Aboody in a building he had purchased at 73 Wall Street in Worcester, MA. It occupied the first floor of the 3-story building. It soon became the first restaurant in the city to offer traditional Middle Eastern cuisine to a growing immigrant community, cooked by Aboody's wife Helen. By 1945 it occupied the entire building, including the basement, with all the Aboody's 9 children working there. The restaurant also began to offer entertainment.
In 1948 Aboody purchased a new property at 100 Wall Street, but the restaurant did not move until December 10, 1977 with a capacity of 5,000 people. In 1994, the building was sold, reopening as Il Palazzo, though that restaurant would close as well. By 2001 the building was vacant, and the property was increasingly overrun with weeds and trash. It was demolished in 2003.
In 2008 plans were drawn up to construct a residential complex. Construction began in 2016 and is now complete.
Boosahda, Elizabeth. 2003. Arab-American Faces and Voices. Austin: University of Texas Press.
“El Morocco In Worcester, MA.” 2013. Mass Food & Wine. June 12, 2013. https://massfoodandwine.com/restaurants/el-morocco/. Archived at https://perma.cc/76BM-AUV5.
Kane, Michael D. 2015. “Memories Of The El Morocco: A Worcester Landmark, Now In Ruins (Photos).” Masslive. October 22, 2015. https://www.masslive.com/news/worcester/2015/10/memories_of_worcesters_el_moro.html. Archived at https://perma.cc/3GE3-HPD4.
Toland, Jennifer. n.d. “‘The El’ Site Transformed.” Telegram & Gazette. Accessed December 9, 2021. https://www.telegram.com/story/news/local/worcester/2020/10/18/el-morocco-site-transformed-into-apartment-complex-in-worcester/114432212/. Archived at https://perma.cc/D4VT-LDZL.