Mounir Saleh, owner of Sassool Mediterranean Cafe in North Raleigh, will open a second location Thursday, Dec. 10, a few doors down from Trader Joe’s in the Shoppes of Kildaire in Cary.
Saleh operates the restaurants with his wife, Lisa, and their two oldest daughters, Noelle and Simone — the third generation of an extended family that owns Neomonde restaurants and bakery, and Sitti in downtown Raleigh.
Sassool is named for family matriarch Cecilia Saleh (Sassool was a childhood nickname), who immigrated to Raleigh from Lebanon in the 70s, and whose recipes became the foundation for the menu at Neomonde.
Sassool expands on the traditional Lebanese offering with a variety of contemporary Mediterranean-inspired dishes such as quinoa salad, kale salad, and the newly introduced sweet potato salad. Vegetarian and gluten-free options are well-represented among the colorful assortment of hot and cold dishes on display in the cafeteria-style offering — which, longtime fans will be happy to know, still includes all the classics, from baba ghanoush to kafta kebab.
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Like its North Raleigh sibling, the Cary Sassool will feature an in-house oven that turns out freshly baked pita and flatbread pies with toppings ranging from spinach and feta to lahem b’ahjeen (lean ground beef mixed with parsley, tomato, onion, garlic and spices). Popular North Raleigh weekly specials such as Family Night (Tuesdays after 4 p.m., children 10 and under get a free kid’s meal with purchase of an an adult meal) and Wine and Dine Night (Wednesdays after 4 p.m., half price house wine bottles and a $5 appetizer special) are also offered in Cary.
Greg Cox, the longtime N&O restaurant critic, also covers restaurant news. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.