As early as next week, Saaj Lebanese Bar and Grill (33003 Aurora Rd., 440-349-2300) will open in Solon, in the former home of Pacific East. Serving lunch and dinner, the restaurant will feature Lebanese cuisine.
"Three Lebanese entrepreneurs joined together to open a Lebanese restaurant," explains partner Lina El-Richani. "We've been wanting to do something together for awhile."
One of the partners owns bakery, another has been involved in the restaurant business for two decades, and the third owns fast-food franchises. A hired chef will handle the day-to-day cooking.
The restaurant is named after traditional Lebanese flatbread, which is baked on an overturned iron wok. The housemade bread will be served with dips and spreads and used for sandwiches.
Diners can look forward to the usual mix of dips, salads, falafel, kofta, kebabs and fish entrees.
"I think at this point people are pretty familiar with the food — they associate it with a good, healthy choice," adds El-Richani. "I believe it's a good fit for the neighborhood."
The 4,200-square-foot space was gutted and rebuilt from scratch. It seats 100 with additional seating coming soon on the new patio.
"It's very appealing," she notes.