Ahlan Wasahlan!

That's what Aladdin's Eatery proudly proclaims on the front of its menu. It means welcome, and welcome is exactly what you'll find at this growing chain of Lebanese restaurants that began in Lakewood, Ohio.

With locations in Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Arlington, Virginia, as well as dotting the Ohio landscape, Aladdin's is helping Lebanese food grow in popularity and exposure.

A stop into Aladdin's for dinner might begin with a freshly made milk, banana, and chocolate smoothie. Any group I ever go with to the restaurant asks for hummos to start their meal, which is served with plentiful pita bread. Their side salad is made with their own homemade salad dressing, which involves some heavenly mixture of olive oil, lemon, garlic, and herbs and spices.

Choices of entrees include pita wraps, pita pizzass, pita salad pockets, and certain specialties. Meats include shistawook chicken, shawarma beef strips, shishkabob cubed beef, lamb, tuna steak, and kafta: a spicy ground beef mixture. There are dozens of combinations to please every palette.

Finally, the really tough decision comes. What is for dessert? How about blueberry cheesecake? Or maybe triple chocolate fudge cake? What about one of the four kinds of baklava?

Stuffed full and without having paid an incredible amount of money on food, you wander out into the twilight happy. Aladdin's Eateries are probably going to open near you soon, and if they do, go enjoy what Clevelanders have been partaking of for years.

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