Suraya, the Middle Eastern-inspired food destination stretching across an entire block in Fishtown, opens Tuesday, Nov. 28.
It's being rolled out in phases, with the market — at 1528 Frankford Ave. — going first. In addition to gifts, spices, and food to go, there is a full bar as well as a cafe menu, plus comfy seating.
The morning starts with Stumptown coffee and house-baked pastries, the flatbreads known as manousheh, appetizers and plates such as hummus, and yogurt. Lunch brings sandwiches and salads. Market hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; kitchen hours are 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Next up — likely in January — will be the adjacent 125-seat restaurant, built around an open kitchen fronted by a 20-seat dining counter and including a 12-foot charcoal grill and Woodstone oven.
In early spring, the project adds a 4,000-square-foot garden and outdoor bar on the property's Front Street side. Richard Stokes Architecture did the layout.
Owners have plenty of firepower and knowledge of the land known as the Levant — the eastern Mediterranean area encompassed by Lebanon, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Israel, Palestine, and Egypt: Beirut-born Nathalie Richan, who owns Northern Liberties' Cafe La Maude, and her brother, Roland Kassis, who's been instrumental in redeveloping the neighborhood — as he owns about a million square feet in the area, including the buildings occupied by La Colombe's flagship and Frankford Hall. Also on board, running the day-to-day operation, are chef Nick Kennedy and Greg Root of the nearby Root restaurant — also a Kassis tenant.
Suraya — say it "sir-AY-ah" — is Suraya Harouni, Richan's and Kassis' grandmother and the matriarch, the oldest sister of a big family of sisters.
"She kept the family together during war, and she loved everybody. Race, religion did not matter," Richan said.