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Lebanese Invade Downtown

“The purpose of Lebanese food is to refresh yourself,” manager Rita Makhlouf says. “You should feel satisfied, but also lighter.” The secrets to Lebanese cuisine are the three pillars of lemon, parsley, and olive oil. She explains that cooking at Cedars eschews preservatives, artificial additives and prepackaged items. The raw ingredients for most recipes are shipped directly from Lebanon.

In Cedars’ tabbouleh, tomato plays a role but the dominant motif is aromatic parsley. Lebanese stuffed grape leaves, slenderer than Greek dolmas, are enhanced by the sweet tang of lemon and the richness of native olive oil. In contrast to the Greek variety, Lebanese baklava’s light syrup gives greater voice to walnuts and pistachios in all their fillo glory.

Rita Makhlouf named the family restaurant after the beloved trees of Lebanon, famous from the time of Gilgamesh and Solomon, and now fiercely protected by the government. “The cedar is evergreen,” Rita says. “In winter and summer and over thousands of years, the cedar means ‘lasting forever.’ I want that for our restaurant.” — Patrick Thompkins

106 N. Seventh St.

Monday-Friday 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Starting in August it will open Fridays 7 a.m. – 6 a.m. on Satrudays and on Saturdays 7 a.m. – 4 a.m. on Sundays.

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