For nearly 35 years on SE Grand Avenue, Nicholas Restaurant served mezza platters, lamb kabobs, rooster and saffron rice plates, and pita breads served nonetheless steaming hot from an imported Lebanese oven. Its owners, partner and wife Nicholas and Linda Dibe, experienced escaped the violence of the 1982 Lebanon War, at some point settling in city and opening Nicholas, introducing Portlanders to all fashion of new dishes. In 2021 it moved from its cozy — even cramped — site on SE Grand to a new, more spacious constructing just on SE Madison Road. Now, soon after standing empty for a 12 months, the group has returned to the initial building. Beirut Bites opened final 7 days with a refreshing coat of yellow paint a relaxed, counter-services model and Lebanese avenue foods including pizzas, shawarma wraps, salad bowls, and gyros.
Owner Hilda Dibe claims that Beirut Bites is another possibility to introduce Portland to new preferences of Lebanon, just as her mother and father did in 1986 when they opened Nicholas. While the restaurant will serve far more common fare like hummus and falafel, it will also characteristic dishes seldom seen exterior of the streets of Beirut. A staple of the cafe is the menu of Lebanese street pizzas, which are baked in the exact same classic oven her parents imported to the US — compared with quite a few conventional ovens, and even pizza ovens, this can get up to 700 and even 800-degrees. The shatta pizza is made with roasted and fermented crimson pepper sauce, stuffed with a residence blend of imported Lebanese cheese, whilst the ayeress sees pita stuffed with lamb sausage produced in-home, and served with a tomato broth.
Another highlighted menu item is a construct-a-bowl choice diners can choose merchandise like falafel, shawarma, or Beirut grilled hen in turmeric product sauce. They then pick out amongst salad greens or vermicelli jasmine rice, a Lebanese dish of blended wheat noodles and rice. There is also an solution for sauces to best the bowls.
Other dishes incorporate cauliflower shwarama wraps —which consist of cauliflower and eggplant roasted in the identical major duty oven — as very well as lamb gyro, falafel served a la carte or wrapped, and chocolate iced Turkish espresso. Desserts, Dibe clarifies, aren’t strictly Lebanese street food, but rather goods that the team loved, like pistachio baklava rolled into “cigars.”
Regulars to the aged Nicholas place will obtain it really diverse, with an additional counter for buying — though diners can dine-in, there’s an emphasis on swift seize and go lunches.
Dibe and her relatives, having been refugees themselves, have extended been involved with companies like the Immigrant and Refugee Group Business (IRCO). “We grew to become refugees in 1982,” says Dibe. “I’ve normally been associated with IRCO. We employ the service of folks from them, we donate food.”
To that stop, Dibe suggests that Beirut Bites will be donating 10-% of its proceeds just about every Tuesday to the organization. The fundraiser will go by means of May perhaps and into June, and Dibe suggests potentially further.
“Owning a cafe, you have the platform to assist,” she clarifies. “It provides you a perception of objective.”
Beirut Bites is open Monday by means of Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 318 SE Grand Avenue.