Rick's Cafe

Bringing the Film Legend to Life in Casablanca


Book Description

For more than 60 years, tourists visiting Casablanca tried to visit Rick’s Café Americain only to discover that Warner Brothers had built the entire set on a studio back lot. It was a Hollywood fantasy—until Kathy Kriger came along, that is, and decided after 9/11 to bring the imaginary gin joint to life. In RICK'S CAFE, she takes us through souk back alleys, the Marché Central's overflowing food stalls, and the shadowy Moroccan business world, all while producing, directing, casting, and playing lead actress in her own story. Instead of letters of transit, she begged for letters of credit; the governor of Casablanca watched her back instead of Captain Renault; and at the piano, playing “As Time Goes By,” sits not Sam but Issam. She encountered paper pushers, absent architects, dedicated craftsmen, mad chefs, and surprising allies. It took over two years, but now, as Captain Renault says to Major Strasser, “Everybody comes to Rick’s.” Here is the remarkable story of a woman who turned Hollywood fantasy into Moroccan reality and made her dream come true. 

About Kriger, Kathy

KATHY KRIGER was born and raised near Portland, Oregon, where she founded her own travel agency before moving to Asia, Prague, and finally Morocco. After nine years in the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, she left public service to create Rick’s Café, which opened on March 1, 2004, to rave reviews. Her blog is UsualSuspectsCasablanca.com, and she has been interviewed by CNN, AP, PBS, BBC, Travel Channel, and More magazine among others.

Ghostwriter CATHIE GANDEL, a freelance journalist, wrote Jon Jerde in Japan (Balcony Press, 2000), which appeared on the Los Angeles Times nonfiction hardcover bestseller list. Her articles and essays have appeared in Newsweek, Reader’s Digest, Los Angeles Times, and AARP