“I've always loved Saginaw and loved to cook. My family had Baz Family Restaurant here from 1995 to about 1998 or 1999. It was a Lebanese restaurant.
I love the restaurant business, but we were out of the country for a while. Sam has a Master’s degree in financial banking and worked with big banks in Dubai.
We were in Dubai for five years after we got married, but my dad wasn’t feeling that great. I got really homesick and hated leaving, but I wanted to be with my family because they’ve always been there for me. We came back and we just decided to open a business.
We make everything from scratch. We don’t like to cut corners on ingredients because we wanted this restaurant to be a place where we would feel comfortable with our son ordering anything. We try to stay away from processed foods in our house so we wanted everything to be fresh and from scratch here.
Our son Daniel is the most important part of our lives. We wanted to try and build something for him, and that’s why we call it ‘Daniel’s Grill’.
Tabouleh is my favorite food in the entire world. We do it, like, almost every night at home. Typically it’s fresh parsley, onions, tomatoes, lemon, salt and olive oil, and then the bulgur wheat. It’s just my favorite. It’s healthy, refreshing, especially in the summertime. Me and my mom growing up would eat it every day in the summer.
Our Baba Ghanoush is almost like the hummus but instead of the chickpeas we use egg plant with the sesame paste. You roast the eggplant and then make it by hand, if you use a machine it gets runny. Then its garlic, olive oil, lemon, and then on top we drizzle some smoked pomegranate molasses which even just by itself is fantastic. At the beginning, I was the one who said ‘We have to make everything the way my family made it’. But Sam started saying, ‘Oh, why don’t we try this?’ or ‘Let’s try this new thing’ and people liked it!
People think we’re Lebanese food or an American diner. But when they come in here and see some people having burgers and some people having baklava, completely different things, they see we have a variety of foods. From a steak sandwich to hot turkey to something really authentic and Lebanese, we want to be able to offer something that will make everybody happy.
“What’s in the Mediterranean Monster?
Everything. It’s eight-inches tall with a half-pound beef patty, gyro meat, cheese, olives, onion rings, hummus and garlic on the bun.
We also have a Pancake Burger: pancakes for the buns with a patty.
The Daniel’s Destruction Burger is named after our son, Daniel: a burger and hot dog and bacon and onion rings. It’s a big burger!”
Sam created the hot turkey and hot beef pizzas. At first I was like, ‘....what are you doing?’ But then I saw people’s reaction when they tried it, and they loved it. It’s something we have in Lebanon and we use our brick oven to make it.
So many different people in Old Town care about each other. Business owners are so supportive of each other, it’s a nice community.
That’s the thing about Saginaw. It’s not that big of a city, especially if you grew up here. A lot of people stay connected and people are supporting and caring. This last year was hard, but then you have businesses like Covenant and how supportive they were of all the businesses here. There is negativity, but I love my city. Born and raised here. We’ve pulled together and helped each other where we can. You might be considered ‘competition’, but there’s room for all of us.”
- Rima, Daniel, and Sam Tarabieh, Daniel's Grill