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Food & Drink

Staff Pick

Best Deli 

Al-Tarboush Deli

In a former life, Sleiman “Sam” Bathani was the lead singer of a touring group in Lebanon, and then the war broke out and he and his family immigrated to the United States. Four decades later, he’s still making beautiful music, though this time it’s in the kitchen as the patriarch of the Loop mainstay Al-Tarboush Deli. For twenty years, this unassuming storefront has served as the epicenter of the city’s best eastern Mediterranean food, served with a side of Bathani’s warm, welcoming smile that makes everyone feel like a regular. Of course, Bathani isn’t the only one who is smiling at Al-Tarboush; after noshing on the deli’s chicken shawarma with an extra side of garlic puree, how can you not be grinning from ear to ear? — Cheryl Baehr

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