Ammar Eisheh knows a thing or two about high quality customer service. Having worked in restaurants and hotels throughout his professional career, the owner of the new Hummus Mediterranean Café in Moore says good food and quality service are two things that a restaurant simply cannot fake. “Customers are not stupid, they feel how genuine you are when you do and say something,” Eisheh explains. “You must work hard to show what you have, that you aren’t just another business or just another restaurant. If you do something, you need to do it well.”
A Welcoming Community
Eisheh grew up overseas, but came to Oklahoma 12 years ago to bring his family closer to his in-laws. “I felt very at home here right away,” he recollects. “This state is the best to raise your family in. I go to Texas a lot for business, but always can’t wait to come home.”
With his own father being from the Middle East, Eisheh realized that there were no restaurants in Moore that featured the food of his father’s homeland. “I was talking with my wife and said ‘Why not open a restaurant that represents Middle Eastern food?’” he explains. “I met with my partners and we decided we wanted to do something that was nice and would truly represent [this] food at its finest.”
Eisheh says the City of Moore has been unlike any other city he has worked in. “From the Mayor to the City Council members, they have helped me in all possible ways to open a successful business,” Eisheh notes. “I haven’t felt this in any other city. People here don’t make you feel like an outsider. It’s a very welcoming community.”
Hummus Mediterranean Café officially opened on June 11, 2012 and currently has a staff of 20 employees. “It was a lot of hours in the beginning, especially in the construction phase and the first two months,” Eisheh explains. “It has been very busy and tiring, but continues to be very rewarding.”
Middle Eastern Atmosphere
While the vision to open the restaurant may have belonged to Eisheh and his partners, he credits their wives with creating the restaurant’s distinctive atmosphere. “They have their fingerprints on everything from the colors in the decorations, to the menu, to the lighting. Our wives designed it to be like our home, which fits since we treat our customers like our family. We worked with an architect to help make our ideas a reality and to give us the atmosphere that we wanted.” The restaurant’s atmosphere is complemented by patio seating and a view of a lake through a large window at the rear of the dining room.
Another important part of the atmosphere at Hummus is the attentive service offered by the wait staff. “I want my servers to be themselves. I don’t want robots to work for me,” he explains. “All my employees live in Moore and it is easier for them to relate to customers since they are part of the same community.”
When asked what sets Hummus apart from other restaurants, Eisheh’s answer is the high quality of the ingredients used to prepare their appetizers, pitas and specialty plates. “We want our customers to know that we buy the best of the best,” he says. “We keep it high quality all the time. If you came on the first day, you will experience the same quality every time you come in.”
The restaurant’s signature dish is the Royal Platter, which features a combination of kofta (a Middle Eastern meatloaf), shish tawook (skewered and grilled chicken) and beef kabab served alongside vermicelli rice and your choice of hummus, muhammara (a ground walnut/bell pepper dip), baba-ghannouj (an eggplant dish) or Greek salad.
Even if you’re not familiar with Middle Eastern cuisine, Eisheh’s staff is available to help you select dishes you will enjoy. “We get people who hesitate all the time,” he assures. “We can suggest simple things to start. Because it is fresh, we don’t have anything that will scare them. Once they give it a shot, they will love it. No question.”
To complete your meal, choose from dessert options such as traditional baklava, a blended fruit cocktail (a smoothie made with mango, strawberry, banana and milk) or the Lebanese Nights Pudding, topped with whipped cream and pistachio.
In addition to being the restaurant’s namesake, hummus is also the house specialty. Freshly made from garbanzo beans blended with tahini, garlic, lemon and spices, the menu boasts eight different kinds of hummus. Eisheh names the jalapeno hummus as his personal favorite, but says that garlic hummus is the most heavily ordered. Other choices include chicken, ground beef and paprika.
“Add to this the bread that we make and bake here in the store,” Eisheh tempts. “It’s all made fresh every day.”
Word of Mouth
For Eisheh, the recipe for success is simple. “American people have a great taste for food,” he explains. “So we give good food and good service. If you give them the right things, then they will come.”
And come they have. “We are especially busy on the weekends, but we know that we need to have the right service and the right food to keep people here,” Eisheh reflects. “We get people from other counties just on word of mouth. We would love to eventually open a second location in Edmond or Norman.”
In addition to dreams of a second location, Eisheh is also working on lunch specials and different nightly specials—as well as other special daily dishes to be added in the future. “If you haven’t been by, I hope you will come try it—just once,” he assures. “Once you try it, you will love it.”
Brooke Barnett is the Assistant Editor and Online Content Manager at MetroFamily Magazine.