New York! If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. And when it comes to food, anywhere it’s made, it’s made there too, whether it’s hotdogs, sushi, tacos, or anything else you could think of.

One food that's been scarcely present in NYC, however, is that delicious Lebanese pastry we all know and love: the manousheh. That is, until a Lebanese expat took action and set up a one-of-a-kind pop-up restaurant dedicated to serving the warm, doughy creation, simply called: Manousheh.

(Photo via Facebook)

Manousheh is a pop-up restaurant located on 10 Kenmare Street in New York City. It has been operating since August, offering the citizens of NYC authentic Lebanese manousheh saj wraps. The man behind Manousheh is Ziyad Hermez, a Lebanese who was born and raised in Kuwait and has been studying and working in IT in the United States for ten years now.

According to Hermez, it all started when he just couldn’t find a decent manousheh in the states: “Since day one of moving to America, I had been looking for a manousheh and was shocked that I couldn't find it anywhere.” Even when he did find one, it would either be too expensive or not authentic at all.

He was also shocked by the lack of awareness of the manousheh in the US, where other Lebanese foods such as falafel, shawrama, and hummus have been embraced; even some in the Arab communites there were unfamiliar with it. That is when Hermez took it upon himself to personally introduce New York City to the true Lebanese manousheh.

One little problem: Hermez was no baker. A friend of his who had franchised a couple of restaurants at the time urged him to just go for it, and so he did, taking a swing at making homemade manoushehs. “I failed, miserably... but the process was fascinating to me, and the goal of teaching people about manousheh slowly started to become within reach,” says Hermez.

Having discovered a hidden passion for baking, Hermez decided to learn how a proper furn (Arabic for “bakery”) operates. The opportunity ultimately came up when he was in Beirut last summer for a wedding, and decided to work at a furn but he wasn’t having much luck finding one that would take him in and show him the ropes.

(Photo via Facebook)

Hermez had previously purchased a book by Lebanese author Barbara Massad called Manoushe, dedicated to the various types of manoushehs and how to make them yourself. As luck would have it, Massad was in Beirut at the time, prompting Hermez to get in touch with her. He was finally taken in by one of the furns which Massad had worked with while producing her book. Hermez was one step closer to realizing his vision: “The experience was so amazing, I couldn't let it go, I had to recreate that experience here [NYC], and that became my main goal.”

This past June, Hermez was having dinner back in New York, when he heard Lebanese music blasting from across the street. Upon going over to investigate, he discovered a nondescript space that was hosting a private Lebanese dinner with a live band. The owner of the space invited him and his friends in for wine.

Eventually, Hermez mentioned that he had been looking for a location for his manousheh passion project for the past eight months, much to the owner’s delight, who revealed that he had been looking for someone to do exactly what Hermez was looking to do for the past two years.

In Hermez’s own words: “The pieces of the puzzle fit and they decided they wanted to host Manousheh and me. I agreed and pretty much overnight, my saj, apron, and I were set up in the location and we started baking, and soon after we started selling, and now here we are.”

(Photo via Facebook)

After all these months, it’s safe to say that Manousheh has been a well-received success, pleasing New Yorkers and finally offering Lebanese expats that which they have craved for so long. It has also been a valuable learning process for Hermez: “We realized that the most important things in operating a restaurant are quality food and excellent customer service, and we strive to have the best in both. The experience of walking into a furn is not just about the food, it’s the atmosphere. We want people to walk in and feel like they are in Beirut, spreading Lebanese hospitality is part of Manousheh’s goal.”

As for the future of Manousheh, it will only be open until November 5, after which Hermez will have to find a more permanent location to settle down in to continue supplying the big apple with its favorite new Lebanese treat.

If you happen to be in NYC, pass by Manousheh for a little bite of home and follow them on Facebook to find out when and where they might pop up again.

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