West county's newest restaurant, Phoenicia Mediterranean Deli (15344 Manchester Road, Ellisville; 314-764-9222), promises a healthful menu of Mediterranean classics. But that's not all — not by any means. Co-owner Rana Baydoun also offers terrific baked goods.
Baydoun is an avid baker of pastries from both the eastern and northern shores of the Mediterranean. Her desserts are intended as compliments to the rest of the vegetable-heavy, Mediterranean menu.
Sandwiched between Ballwin Cycles and a nail salon in one of the innumerable strip malls lining Manchester, Phoenicia is one of the few options in the far-out 'burbs available to those looking for a falafel fix or to scratch a shawarma itch. Hicham Baydoun, Rana's husband and co-owner, notes that many of his friends in the area regularly drive to Tower Grove, downtown or the Loop to find similar offerings. The couple hopes to change this, with a counter-service restaurant that also offers six tables and a few bright touches.
The Baydouns have lived in the St. Louis area for about five years. Originally from Lebanon, the family made stops in Europe and Kansas City as Hicham worked towards a PhD focusing on cancer research. Today, he's fighting leukemia and lymphoma by day and serving labneh by night.
The menu features fresh, made-from-scratch Mediterranean favorites, with a particular focus on the flavors of Lebanon. If your perception of a shawarma is a dry pita-taco, Phoenicia is a good place to break such an understanding of the dish. Both chicken and beef are available, and the oversized "Tomahawk Shawarma" can include a mix of both meats. Full of textures, the flavorful spit-roasted meat comes topped with a creamy, non-spicy sauce.
Approximately 75 percent of the menu is vegetarian, and Hicham is quick to point out the health benefits associated with Mediterranean cuisine. Rana tries to carry this health ethos over to the pastries as much as possible by starting with healthier recipes and making everything from scratch — real whipped cream instead of icing, for example. Talk about health food we could all get into.
Phoenicia Mediterranean Deli is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Scroll down for more photos.
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