On a Sunday afternoon during its first week in business, Sultan Palace Bakery and Cafe (4144 South Grand Boulevard; 314-875-9653) has but two employees staffing the 60-seat restaurant -- which isn't a problem, of course, until a group of ten or so followed by a table of four arrive to sample the Middle Eastern cuisine.
The only waitress on the floor rushes to fill drink orders while we wrap up our brightly colored and flavored meal of chicken shawarma and lamb kufta. It came prepared and happily served by owner and sole chef Sufyan Nakhlah himself.
"It's about the food. It's not just about the money," Nakhlah says. "I love to work in the restaurant and I like to make everything myself. I know what goes into it."
He fires up the grill and begins to assemble all his carefully prepared foods for his new guests. Before the hustle and bustle hit, however, he stepped out of his kitchen for a moment to tell us a bit about his history in hospitality overseas.
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