In 2000, brothers Abe and Pierre Dagher closed Cedars, a Lebanese joint on Federal Boulevard they'd owned for fourteen years, and went their separate ways, exiting the restaurant industry for other trades.
But now they're back together -- and back in the business: In mid-January, they opened Shawarma Mediterranean Grill in Centennial.
While Cedars was a full-service restaurant, Abe describes the new spot as "more of a fast-casual" establishment, similar to a Chipotle-style line, that serves Mediterranean dishes like falafel, kabobs and hummus. And while there's no liquor license, there are plenty of Mediterranean desserts, including baklava, rose water pudding and pistachio ice cream.
"We make everything from scratch, even our falafel, which a lot of places make from a powder," notes Abe. "You can taste the difference. It's more authentic this way."
In particular, the restaurant specializes in authentic shawarma, the spit-roasted, shaved meat that's often found in sandwiches and salads. And the brothers cook ribeye and chicken breast according to the Lebanese family's own recipes and traditions.
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Like their last restaurant, Shawarma Mediterranean Grill is a family operation. "My mom and dad cooked in the kitchen at Cedars," says Abe. "They're retired now, but they still stop by to supervise and taste everything."
Shawarma is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. For more information, call 303-703-4040.