Local Dining: A Taste of the Middle East at the Palm Palace in the Ann Arbor Area

PITTSFIELD TOWNSHIP, MI – This Mediterranean restaurant has had patrons covered in shawarma, hummus and falafel since the onset of the coronavirus crisis.

Palm Palace at 2370 Carpenter Road has its fair share of lamb chops, baba ghanoush, tabbouleh, grape leaves and a tangy garlic spread to dip with warm pita bread for everyone.

But owner Ahmad Hodroj knew he had to prepare for curbside pickup and food safety early on after witnessing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities around the world.

“I was a bit extreme at the start with mandatory hand washing every 15 minutes,” Hodroj said. “I monitored the situation in China and Italy… when I saw how they reacted, how they reacted, we preemptively prepared an action plan. By mid-March, I had already set up curbside signs and software as if we were being told what to do. “

It went one step further by purchasing sealed bags for cleaned silverware, tamper-evident containers and take-out bags to ensure safe meal delivery – Palm Palace uses third-party food delivery services. Seals help prevent cases of food theft.

But over time the employees dwindled and more and more customers wanted to dine, Hodroj took advantage of its large outdoor space to spread out tables on the patio and along the walkway leading to the entrance, rather than have customers dine inside. However, there is still a low “Moroccan themed” sofa in the middle of the restaurant.

Hodroj took inspiration from his Lebanese upbringing to create a slightly more traditional space in Mediterranean countries, where families usually sit on the floor for dinner.

Whether it’s shish tawook, a skewered chicken dish often paired with grilled vegetables, fattoush salad, falafel, lamb or chicken shawarma, or hummus, Hodroj encourages customers to try lemonade. with mint, a ubiquitous regional frozen drink made with lemon, sugar and spearmint. – perfect for a hot day or a taste of the Middle East.

Palm Palace gives it a different twist with a touch of orange.

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