On our never ending food journey we’ve made a list of must try’s and somewhere on the top of that list is a little gem that just won a not-so-little award. If you are a foodie like us and keep up with current events, then you know that our beloved Beirut brought home a worldwide award. Emphasis on the “worldwide”, our country holds the title for the Tastiest Sandwich in the World for 2015. Woah – that’s a lot to swallow, huh? If you ask us it makes perfect sense that Lebanon would win an award when it comes to food, but as much as we like to take pride for our country’s accomplishments we can think of one person who might be feeling a little more accomplished than we are. Meet Joseph Abou-Khalil the owner of Shawarma Joseph, who has brought a lot of pride to our country and a lot of happiness to our bellies.
Joseph opened his restaurant in 1995 in the middle of Sin El Fil, starting the family business it is today. However, at first it was a falafel shop and after a couple of years it evolved and added more items to the menu, like the ever so popular Shawarma sandwich. We sat down with Edgar, who has been working with his father since he was in school, as he gave us the 411 on the award-winning restaurant. He explained, “ My brothers and sisters all stop by and help out with the restaurant but I’m the most hands on. Ever since I was a little kid I was never forced to come and help out; I would immediately come after school and help in anyway that I could which led me to become the manager.”
So how does someone gain the title Best Sandwich in the World? Edgar gushed, “Can you believe we didn’t even enter this competition? That should show you how our food speaks for itself. We had no idea we were even nominated until during the competition and towards the end we found out that we won and it was just such a rewarding feeling.” Now that’s what we call letting your success make all the noise! But we weren’t convinced; we knew there had to be some secret spell or ingredient they used to differentiate themselves amongst the many. Edgar explained, “The number one thing we are known for isn’t our sandwiches but the cleanliness and quality of our restaurant, meat, ingredients, and taste. These four complete each other in order to be successful. Edgar really expressed the importance of cleanliness he couldn’t stress the importance of it enough because at the end of the day it is the representation of oneself and nothing spreads like word of mouth.
For a restaurant that sells sandwiches it is considerably big. It has one section where you can watch the sandwiches and the meat and chicken shawarma being made as well as another where you can sit down and enjoy your meal – and let’s not forget the deliciously lingering, delicious smell of it all. For those who have never been, wear comfortable shoes because the line can get pretty long. People come all over to for his sandwiches and believe us it’s worth the wait. The décor is very simple yet it does the trick whether you are stopping for a sit down sandwich or take away; it has a simple touch to it. Seeing all the people crowded around we had to ask if there were plans in opening another branch. Edgar told us that right now their main focus is on perfecting the services in their current location, and once that is steady, plans of expansion can happen. He also added he wouldn’t mind renovating the place but not too much, people already love it this way.
It is quite difficult to stand out in something as competitive as the food industry is in Lebanon – but we can vouch for these sandwiches. As if the pictures weren’t mouth-watering enough, how about a little description to match it? The pita bread was thin enough to fit all the freshly made ingredients but thick enough to keep it in neat form. The amount of ingredients was just right, and unlike many other sandwiches it wasn’t messy. With each bite you could taste the freshness and cleanliness as if you are eating straight from your mom’s kitchen. And really, all it takes is one bite to understand why Shawarma Joseph is the world’s tastiest sandwich.
Shawarma Joseph is located in Sin El-Fil across from St. Mary’s Church. For more information call them on +9611510520