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Lebanese eatery opens in Greek Astoria

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Astoria foodies have a new cause to celebrate following the opening of a Lebanese eatery with affordable prices under the N and W lines on 31st Street.

Haddad’s Lebanese Cuisine, at 22-47 31st St. in Astoria, is the only restaurant of its kind near the bustling dining destination along Ditmars Boulevard, which is populated with Greek, French, Italian, Japanese and Thai cuisine.

The restaurant, which opened in the former Choo Choo’s site in mid-January, is 80 percent vegetarian but also features a variety of savory dishes with marinated beef and chicken. Owner George Haddad, who formerly managed eateries in Paris as well as worked in New York’s high-end fashion industry, said his restaurant offers a new alternative for dining out near the Ditmars section of Astoria.

“It was a good spot to do something different in the area,” he said of Haddad’s locale. “Everything is homemade. This area is mostly Greek, which has many of the same flavors in food as Lebanese — lemon, garlic, cilantro and parsley.”

The restaurant’s menu includes chicken shawarma, shish kebab, falafel and mixed grill and kafta, which is charcoal grilled ground beef with onions, herbs and spices.

It also offers a $6.50 gourmet lunch plate, which is made up of hummus, baba ghannouj and tabboule as well as two pieces of hot mezze, such as falafel, ground beef kebbe or fatayer pastry with baby spinach, onion, sumac and olive oil. The dinner plate, which is $9, allows for three items off the hot mezze selection.

Haddad’s, which is open noon to 10 p.m. every day, delivers free to Astoria residents as long as their purchase exceeds $10 and provides catering services.

“I do the best falafel in the area — we have the best tender shish kebab,” Haddad said.

The restaurant will soon add breakfast to its menu as well a beef shawarma platter.

Haddad, who is also attempting to obtain a beer license for the site, said his eatery has already drawn a following in the neighborhood due to its traditional selection of Lebanese dishes and lower prices. Entrees range from $7.50 to $13.50.

“When people go out to eat in Lebanon, these are the dishes they eat,” he said. “And it’s not that expensive. We are just getting started, but hopefully we will be adding more.”

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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