A taste of Lebanon has arrived at Mt. Lebanon, as has a second culinary destination featuring Middle Eastern dishes.
Laziz Lebanese Cuisine is based in the Executive Building at 615 Washington Road, approximately two miles north of the Lebanon Shops where Time Out Time Eat has established a store on Mt. Lebanon Boulevard.
The two have several things in common. Each is a family-run business owned by a married couple, three of the four people are first-generation Americans. Both restaurants opened during the pandemic and have struggled with supply chain challenges, rising grocery costs, hiring staff and gaining visibility.
“This has been a long-standing hope,” said Adele Fayad, who owns and runs Laziz with her husband Licha. The couple moved from Lebanon to Mt. Lebanon in the early 1990s and attempted a few times to open a restaurant in the South Hills. This time they managed to launch April 4th from a room Aranchini House had occupied before them at 615 Washington Road.
The Fayads renamed it Laziz, originally an Arabic word meaning “one who is pleasant”. In the end they found a comfortable, brightly lit place with plenty of space that required new furniture and equipment. Signage near the entrance directs guests to the restaurant, which is below street level.
Laziz satisfies both a need and a stomach, as Lebanese restaurants are not common in western Pennsylvania.
Adele learned to cook and bake from her mother from a young age and prepares a range of menus. Her five sisters and two brothers have also learned her cooking skills well and work in the Pittsburgh area restaurant business.
However, Adele isn’t the only kitchen luminary in her immediate family. Licha has been Sous Chef at LeMont Restaurant, a five-star Diamond Award restaurant on Mount Washington, for 30 years. He also prepares meals for Laziz and owns a car dealership/service station in Whitehall. You have two sons.
A five-minute drive from Uptown Mt. Lebanon, John and Oat Becker strive to break into the Lebanon Shops at Time Out Time Eat. They started on December 21, 2020, shortly after the coronavirus vaccine was rolled out.
“We agreed to buy the business when the pandemic hit (early 2020). We couldn’t have picked a more difficult time to open,” said John Becker, who bought out a Mexican restaurant, Cocina Mendoza, with his wife.
“We got all their gear and refurbished it,” he said. “Actually, it’s more of a renovation – painting a bit and adding pictures. The layout is the same.”
Becker, who has an extensive banking background, worked in restaurants through high school, college and for some time afterwards, but admits he’s not the chef his wife is.
Oak Becker, a native of Thailand, shows the ingenuity of mixing and matching items that underpin an extensive menu that ranges from soups to a barrage of curries and desserts with banana buns and mango buns.
“Oak does 90% of our menu and cooks to order,” said John, a New Hampshire native who met his wife on a trip to Thailand. “It’s not just the Thai and Indian” specialties that are available, “it’s Oak’s version of everything.”
Both couples say they’re getting positive reviews from guests but are hoping business will accelerate. “It’s still pretty slow,” said Adele Fayad. “We don’t want it to be crazy all the time, but we do want to be more busy.
“We have our great days and our quiet days,” said John Becker. “But we’re a little optimistic as word spreads about our food. Once we’re more established, we feel like we’re going to do well every day.”
The Beckers live in Mt. Lebanon with their two young daughters.
Laziz is open Monday to Saturday from 11am to 7pm; it is closed on sunday
Time Out Time Eat is open Tuesday through Thursday from 11am to 9pm; 11 to 10 on Friday; Saturday from 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 a.m.; Sunday and Monday closed.
Both restaurants offer dine-in, take-out, and delivery options.
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