It had been four months since the Battle of Mosul began in October 2016, and life was finally starting to feel normal again for Hajj Nasser. The Iraq Army had taken the eastern half of the city from the Islamic State’s control, and Nasser’s restaurant, Sayidaty Al-Jamila, known to Westerners as “My Fair Lady,” was thriving for the first time since the militant group seized the city in 2014. A steady stream of Iraqi soldiers, international journalists, and old regulars were rotating through for kebabs, offal, and pizza, even as coalition forces continued their push over the Tigris River into western Mosul. On February 10, shortly after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi declared East Mosul officially liberated from the Islamic State, a suicide bomber detonated himself in the entryway of Sayidaty Al-Jamila. The explosion tore through the restaurant’s cavernous entrance, destroying its family room and cooking stations, along with vehicles parked outside; four people died, including Nasser and two of his nephews. In the immediate aftermath of the bombing, one of Nasser’s nephews, Mohammed Badr, thought that Sayidaty Al-Jamila would never reopen. But by this summer, the restaurant was back, and so were the crowds, with regulars once again arriving as early as 5 a.m. for pacha, a traditional Iraqi dish made with sheep’s brain, stomach, and hooves. Many of the employees who survived the attack returned, too, driven by a sense that a new future is just over the horizon after years of occupation by the Islamic State — commonly called Daesh, an Arabic acronym for the group — and months of intense fighting that had demolished much of the city. “When Daesh was here, we had an unknown future. We didn’t know which day we were going to die,” Abu Mustafa, who has been a manager at Sayidaty Al-Jamila for seven years, told me. “But now life is coming back. It’ll be just like it was before.” The war against the Islamic State is officially over in Iraq. Mosul, the country’s second-largest city, located some 250 miles north of Baghdad and bisected by the Tigris River, was the crown jewel of the Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate, and its last major stronghold in the country. The battle to retake the city lasted around nine months — victory was officially declared in July, although fighting continued into August — displacing hundreds of thousands of people, killing thousands, and destroying or damaging tens of thousands of buildings. A Restaurant Out of the Rubble There is a blurb in there about paying rather high rent for a place with no roof. That pisses me off.