Cheap, healthy and homemade eats are on their way to your must-try restaurant list—and maybe even your list of staple stops.
BaBa Ghanouj Café (1335 Barrington Street, the former Mugs Etc.) is hoping to open the first week of May, across the street from Dalhousie’s engineering campus. The Syrian buffet-style restaurant with an open concept kitchen will serve mainly vegetarian dishes. Eggplant, beans, chickpeas and stewed tomatoes are some regular ingredients used in Syrian cooking. When BaBa Ghanouj does serve meat it will only be chicken and fish. The restaurant, which seats 25 to 30 people, will be both Halal and Kosher, with vegan, gluten- and dairy-free options.
Cooking since the late '80s, owner Roy Khoury brought his culinary skills and Syrian food culture to Canada in 1992. As the previous owner of Mary’s Cafe, a popular student stop, he is confident that his new business will thrive. “It’s not going to take me long to set up my business here because people, they know my food,” says Khoury. Mary’s was not only popular for its delicious dishes and all day breakfast, but also for its prices. BaBa Ghanouj Café will keep this cost consciousness, with menu options ranging between $10 and $15, and many options available for under ten dollars. He says this way customers can come by often.
Khoury says his new eatery works with today’s market because “a lot of people now are looking for healthy food"; BaBa Ghanouj is “nothing fancy, a casual cafe,” but it will feel cozy because the food is “homemade style,” with everything crafted from scratch.
The cafe will have lots of Baba Ghanouj— its namesake eggplant dish—on hand. It'll also serve all day Syrian breakfast, Panini style. Currently Khoury is planning to be open Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm. If demand is high he will open on Friday and Saturday, maybe even late if the downtown crowd demands. Khoury’s secret recipes make his dishes one of a kind on the Halifax Syrian food scene.