Back again in their teenagers, San Diego buddies Osama Shabaik and Mahmoud “Moody” Barkawi talked a ton about opening their possess shawarma restaurant using recipes special to their possess Egyptian and Syrian cultures. They’d even figured out the identify for their foreseeable future organization: Tahini Street Foods.
But right after higher college, their life went individual techniques. Barkawi acquired a diploma in prison justice from San Diego Condition and was acknowledged into a sheriff’s section instruction academy, next in his family’s extended tradition of public provider. In the meantime, Shabaik built it into Harvard Law School, but understood midway via his experiments that staying a lawyer no longer appealed to him.
So in the summer months of 2013, the two adult males resolved they’d give their teen Tahini dream a shot. If they failed soon after 3 months, they’d return to their careers in the legislation. Rather, they succeeded, and they’ve by no means seemed back again. In October, the now-33-calendar year-outdated business people moved Tahini into a new Kearny Mesa place that is two times the sizing of their initial retail outlet. In December, they opened their 2nd spot near Sacramento. And in late May possibly, they will open their following idea: Finjan, a specialty coffee property and dessert store that will provide espresso-based mostly and Turkish coffees as properly as knafeh, a Center Jap phyllo and cheese pastry. Finjan usually means “coffee cup” in Arabic.
Barkawi and Shabaik say they’re very pleased of the small business they crafted from scratch and they do the job effectively with each other as a group. Barkawi is the assistance-minded persons individual who oversees functions powering the counter, even though Shabaik is the far more introverted contracts, figures and logistics person who’s happiest at the rear of a laptop or computer. Apart from jogging their thriving small business collectively, the two males are also active volunteers in the local Arab-talking local community, helping current Syrian and Iraqi refugees with paperwork, daily life abilities and, in lots of instances, careers at Tahini.
Shabaik, whose heritage is Egyptian, was born in Baltimore and grew up in San Diego. Barkawi, who’s Syrian, was born and raised in Paterson, N.J. and moved with his relatives to San Diego in his mid-teens. They achieved at a neighborhood mosque and bonded above movie online games, trips to the gym and their appreciate for Mediterranean food items, while the two felt that the shawarma and falafel they discovered at neighborhood dining places was far too generic for their flavor.
Tahini’s thought, honed about 3 several years at farmers marketplaces and a meals booth at a Pacific Seashore fuel station, is intentionally uncomplicated. Diners can decide on from a few proteins — hen or beef shawarma or vegetarian falafel — in both a pita, a rice bowl or a salad, with choice of 7 home-produced tahini sauces and dips. The hen shawarma is marinated and cooked rotisserie-type in-house with all-pure, cage-free halal chickens and the beef shawarma is also created in-house with all-normal halal Angus beef. Shabaik made the recipe for the pitas, which are baked in-property every day, and the herb-prosperous falafel is Egyptian-design and style, built with fava beans relatively than garbanzos and fried to buy.
For consumers who can’t determine there are 3 specialty pitas: The O.G., a standard Syrian-style shawarma preparing the M.T.W., an Egyptian, or “Mother of the Environment”-fashion prep and the best-promoting Esquire, which honors Shabaik’s achievements of earning his Harvard Law diploma and passing the California bar test a several a long time back. During a 2019 go to to Tahini for his Foodstuff Network collection “Diners, Travel-Ins and Dives,” host Person Fieri known as the Esquire pita a “killer” sandwich.
The Tahini menu also attributes a few appetizers like pita chips with za’atar and sumac seasoning, fried halloumi (goat’s milk) cheese sticks and Tahini fries, which is a shawarma version of carne asada fries.
Two items that aren’t on the Tahini menu are desserts and coffee, which will be served instead at Finjan, which is opening proper next doorway in previous Tahini spot. Shabaik stated source chain delays are keeping up the opening of the coffee store. They’re awaiting shipment of various Turkish sand espresso equipment, which brew the sweetened coffee in copper cups on a heated mattress of sand.
Tahini Avenue Food stuff
Exactly where: 9119 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., Suite H, San Diego
Mobile phone: (858) 779-3272