What's Hot
What's Going On


Search thousands of events in our database.


Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.


Search hundreds of clubs in our database.


OW on Twitter
OW on Facebook
Print Email

On the side

Middle East Market & Deli

Combination grocery-lunch counter serves some of the best shawarma in town.

Photo: Photo by Rob Bartlett, License: N/A

Photo by Rob Bartlett

I have two vivid memories dating back to a trip my family took to Saudi Arabia when I was 12, both revolving around food. The first recalls a drippy, tender shawarma with steak, hummus, bright-pink pickled turnips, tomatoes and parsley in a warm pita. The other is the vegetal, unrefined chewing gum made from the sap of the acacia tree.

The best place I've found in town to relive these sensory experiences so burned into my psyche is Middle East Market near Sand Lake Road. The OBT spot is equal parts specialty grocery store (find all the Mediterranean gum, candy, hookah tobacco and canned goods you might need), deli (all sorts of ready-prepared foods to take away) and lunch counter (fresh hot shawarma and gyros sliced to order).

Their version of shawarma ($6.99) is strikingly similar to the one I first had in the Persian Gulf years ago. You can couple your sandwich with sides like kibbi ($1.99), a fried dumpling filled with bulgur, pine nuts and ground beef; okra stewed with sweet tomatoes; or a lemony and refreshing tomato-and-cucumber salad garlicky enough to ward away the undead. Finish off the meal with a date mamoul, a crumbly cookie filled with the sweet paste of dry dates ($1.49), somewhere between a French butter cookie and a Fig Newton.

The place is run by a gaggle of smiling, gregarious women, who all know their lunch regulars by their first names and laugh loudly and appreciatively, making the place sound less like a restaurant and more like your Lebanese grandma's kitchen – if you're lucky enough to have one.

Middle East Market & Deli

8100 S. Orange
Blossom Trail

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus