ANDERSONVILLE — After months of delays, Middle East Bakery and Grocery opened its expanded cafe over the weekend.
Middle East Bakery & Grocery, 1512 W. Foster Ave., has been working on the expansion into the former home of Icosium Kafe, 5200 N. Clark St., since November of 2014. The cafe began serving lunch and dinner Saturday, said owner Hisham Khalifeh.
"We want to be more stable then add breakfast options," said Khalifeh, adding the cafe will be open from about 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
For more than 35 years, Khalifeh has sold fresh breads, cheese, pickled vegetables, vegetable pies, cookies, pastries, spices and nuts to his neighbors from the small bakery. In the mornings, Khalifeh would greet the children passing the bakery on their way to school with fresh bread. Now, those children visit his store daily, he said.
"The best part about being here is I don't feel like I have customers, I have friends," Khalifeh said. "We're a neighborhood store. All our customers are family and friends. We know them very well, and they know us very well."
Khalifeh decided to expand his shop to get a little more time with the extended family after Icosium Kafe's owner said "I'm done with crepes" in January 2014.
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