Introducing Mediterranean cuisine, one plate at a time

Ado’s Restaurant chef Adnan Joudeh with a serving of chicken shwarma and kafteh. Cathy Dobson

Cathy Dobson

Adnan Joudeh wants to introduce Sarnians to his Mediterranean cooking that he says is a healthy and tasty alternative to western fare.

But he knows that in addition to offering falafels, shwarma and tabbouleh, his new diner also needs to cater to customers who want traditional choices like omelettes, burgers and wraps.

“I am a chef and was trained in five star hotels in Jordan,” says Joudeh, 43.  “I want to educate my customers, so I’ll send out free samples of my Mediterranean food and hope they order it next time.”

It seems to be working.

Since opening in March, Ado’s Restaurant has been serving increasing amounts of Mediterranean dishes.  Joudeh’s customers are invited to write their comments in a guest book and let him know if they enjoyed their meals.

“We always have to go to the bigger cities to find (Mediterranean choices),” wrote one who had just finished a shwarma wrap and fresh cut fries.

“Now we can stay right in Sarnia and still have a great shwarma experience.”

Joudeh moved to Sarnia from Montreal in late 2015 to be closer to family.  He teamed up with business partner Melissa Young to lease 1440 Plank Rd., which was a diner for many years before changing ownership.

Joudeh said the opportunity appealed because it was a turnkey operation.

When renovations were completed with new kitchen equipment and fresh décor in the 50-seat restaurant, Ado’s opened for breakfast and lunch only.

This week, at the urging of his customers, Joudeh has extended his hours from 6 a.m. – 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday.  He’s adding at least two more staff to his existing complement of seven cooks and waitresses to cater to the dinner crowd.

“I make everything from scratch and I make it with love,” he said. “I challenge anyone to make food as good as I do.”

At least one-third of Ado’s menu is breakfast items priced from $9 for a breakfast sandwich to $13.75 for the “Space Launch,” which is breakfast with steak.

A breakfast special is offered for $5.75 every day until 11 a.m. and includes two eggs any style, bacon or sausage, homefries, and toast.

Lunches and dinners include conventional choices like burgers and fries ($11.75) and homemade soups for $4.75.  A fairly extensive list of Mediterranean choices includes tabbouleh salad, a mixture of parsley, tomato, onion, crushed wheat, mint, lemon and olive oil, for $6.95. Hummus is served with toast for $7.95. A falafel wrap or chicken shwarma wraps with fries are $9.95.

A recent lunch special featured kafteh wraps, which is seasoned beef and lamb served with tomato sauce and fries for $8.95.

“It was very popular,” said Joudeh.  “I tell everyone, eat my lamb and you’ll never have had anything like it.”  He said he buys local meat and grinds it up in his own kitchen.

Orders for his Mediterranean choices are starting to outstrip his western choices.

Ado’s Restaurant, named for Joudeh’s nickname, is located at 1440 Plank Rd.  Specials are posted on the restaurant Facebook page.  Call 519-332-3535. Children under 12 and seniors over 65 get a 15% discount.

Got an interesting business story?  Contact Cathy Dobson at cathy.dobson@thesarniajournal.ca or 226-932-0985.