On the morning of November 14th, 2018, Manna Samuel arrives at Merhaba Shawarma four hours before it opens to begin her day. She readies the restaurant for the shift ahead, preparing for the next twelve hours that she will carry on her shoulders alone. Merhaba Shawarma is quite literally a one-woman show.
The visit to the Manakish restaurant triggered memories of my childhood. “Za-a-a-tar” my father would stretch out the word and wait for me to repeat it. “It’s good for you. It makes you smart”, he would say before offering me a flatbread covered in the “special zaatar sauce” (a mix of ground spices with olive […]
Located on a busy corner of Chicago’s northside Mayfair neighborhood, Shibam Restaurant is an oasis all its own, a place where Persian Gulf emigres can find those Spice Route flavors of cumin and coriander, turmeric and ginger, fenugreek and aniseed blended into soups and stews and rice dishes that simply taste like home. (A sister restaurant, Shibaum South, just opened in Bridgeview.)
The open kitchen is what you first see when you enter the restaurant. You can smell Eastern Mediterranean cuisine and hear the sound of beef, chicken, or lamb sizzling on the flat top grill. Fresh pastries sit in the pastry display on top of the bakery display fridge, which contains a popular brand for Middle-Eastern […]
Even as one stands in the parking lot out front of Carnival, a medium-sized Lebanese American restaurant located just on the outskirts of Hollywood’s buzz, it’s possible to feel the community bustling around the restaurant. Early morning exercisers entering Pilates class weave around food service workers on their cigarette breaks, combining into a morning bustle […]