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Monday, August 1, 2016

Zaytoon to Bring the Fresh Flavors of Middle Eastern Cuisine to the Halle Building

Posted By on Mon, Aug 1, 2016 at 11:04 AM

click to enlarge zaytoon_new_1.jpg
A year and a half ago, David Ina and his parents Ghada and Albert opened Al’s Deli (1717 E. 9th St., 216-589-9223) on the main floor of the Residences at 1717, formerly the East Ohio Building. That popular deli is one of the few places in town where a diner can order a corned beef sandwich alongside a homemade falafel pita.

“Some days we sell more chicken shawarma than we do Reubens,” Ina explains. “It amazes me the amount of traffic that comes in particularly for the Middle Eastern food, which makes us really confident with this new concept.”

That new concept is Zaytoon Lebanese Kitchen, a Middle Eastern café that will open in the former Huron Square Deli space (1150 Huron Rd. E.) in the Halle Building, which closed last winter.

“When the space became available to us we were going back and forth about whether to open another deli, cafe or sandwich shop, but deep down, I’ve always had this concept in mind,” Ina adds. “Doing the food that is cooking from the heart.”

The 2,800-square-foot space will feature an open kitchen where fresh pitas will be baked in full view. There will be limited seating inside and out on the patio. Ina will be open for breakfast and lunch and expects to do extensive carry-out and catering business.

Zaytoon will open early, offering Turkish coffee and Lebanese pastries like namoura, dense semolina bars flavored with orange blossom water, and kunafa in ka'ak, bubbling sweet cheese baked with shredded phyllo and tucked into sesame bread.

The lunch menu will feature lentil soup, salads like tabbouleh and fattoush, vegetarian and beef-filled grape leaves, spinach pies and meat pies, falafel, and beef and chicken shawarma rolled into pita sandwiches.

“We don’t want to over complicate the menu,” Ina says. “We’ll keep the menu simple and add specials of the stuff I grew up eating that my mom makes, like stuffed zucchini and rolled cabbages.”

In Arabic, zaytoon means olive.

“The core of Lebanese food always starts with really good olive oil,” Ina says.

Look for the restaurant to open in late 2016 or early 2017.

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