A new Yellowknife restaurant, Shawarma House, began serving Syrian and Lebanese food on Monday from 5006 Franklin Avenue, above Bijou Boutique.
Shawarma House will be open from 11am to 9pm, Monday to Saturday. Chicken, beef, and vegetarian shawarma are joined by tabouli salad, baba ghanouj, fattoush salad, and an Arctic salad.
By 3pm on Monday, the restaurant said it had sold out of beef and chicken shawarma and would close early at 5pm.
Co-owner Zakaria Boukdich said opening a restaurant had been a dream of his for years. Moustafa Alhajjy is the resturant’s chef and other co-owner, while Maamr Hamada will manage the restaurant.
Alhajjy will create specials in addition to the main menu. Come January, he plans to revamp the initial menu and add more items.
“There is a lot of other Middle Eastern, or Pakistani, or Syrian food to be added on the menu, like biryani, like kabsa,” Boukdich said. “So all this stuff, we’ll work on it, and when we’re 100-percent sure, we’ll put it down on the menu.”
Yellowknife resident Younes Oudghough, speaking on behalf of Alhajjy, said the chef wanted to say “that since the day him and his family set forth in Yellowknife, it has been a very open community.”
“Everybody helped them a lot, and they’re very appreciative,” said Oudghough. “[The food] is kind-of their way of saying thank you to the community and bringing some Middle Eastern food right here in Yellowknife.
“It’s authentic. It’s all made with love and lots of hard work.”
Boukdich said the former Ambassador restaurant space needed six months of work.
At a weekend pre-opening event, Boukdich said he “had all the feelings” as his dream became a reality.
Oudghough said the restaurant owners have been through “a lot” and it’s a “big relief” to see Shawarma House open.
“We’re all very happy to see it happen,” he said.