Beirut Kitchen’s Lebanese street food completes diverse Lansing Shuffle lineup


Husband and wife Rae Suboh and Rodina Kasti have been running their Okemos restaurant, Bread Bites Mediterranean, since late 2019. For them and their extended relatives, the restaurant business is a family affair. One of Kasti’s sisters owns Aladdin’s Restaurant in the Frandor Shopping Center, while her brother owns Sahara Delight in downtown Lansing.

So, when another of Kasti’s sisters, Khadija Al-Kasti, and her brother-in-law Hussein Sawan moved from Lebanon to Greater Lansing in 2022, it seemed only natural that they would join in on the tradition. They began working at Bread Bites, continuing to do so for a year and a half.

“They came over here with their three boys, and they had no jobs, no house, nothing. So, we helped them out, we supported them through it,” Kasti said.

Sawan was a manager at a restaurant back in Lebanon, and it quickly became apparent to Kasti that he had the skills to run the second location that she and Suboh were thinking about opening at the time.

“I said, ‘Oh my gosh, he has really good experience.’ Plus, he added some nice twists to our food. After that, we decided to open another restaurant and let them run it,” Kasti said.

As those plans developed, however, Kasti and Suboh were approached by a representative for Lansing Shuffle to see if they’d be interested in becoming a tenant. The couple, alongside Al-Kasti and Sawan, opted to open a new concept instead: Beirut Kitchen, named after Lebanon’s capital city, which became the final of seven restaurants to open at Lansing Shuffle on Feb. 13.

“It’s based on the street food back home. Like, if you were walking to get some coffee and you felt hungry, you’d stop at a kiosk that has Lebanese food. That’s what we’re doing now. We’re serving it with the same presentation, just like the way we do it back home. These dishes have a lot of protein, carbohydrates, olive oil and vegetable oil,” Kasti said.

The menu features Mediterranean staples like chicken shawarma, beef and chicken kebabs and gyros as well as plant-based options like falafel, samosas, deep-fried cauliflower and three salad options.

Kasti said a popular menu item so far has been the Golden Sojuk Bowl, an Armenian-inspired dish made from ground beef and a special spice blend.

“This plate tastes really good, and I don’t think anyone else has it, because I looked at all the Mediterranean food here in Lansing and couldn’t find another place that serves it,” she said.

Keeping with the family tradition, two of Sawan and Al-Kasti’s children, Ahmad Sawan, 14, and Ali Sawan, 13, have stepped up to help their parents work the register on weekends. Kasti said they’ve become an endearing part of the experience for visitors.

“They’re very comfortable speaking to people. Even though they’re young, they’re very bright and talk like they’re 35 years old,” she said. “Customers have been very, very excited to see them when they come in.”




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