UPDATE: Shish Kabob Express celebrated its grand opening Dec. 7 at 37111 South Gratiot.
With the weight of Thanksgiving dinner fresh on our hips, a new restaurant at 16 Mile and Gratiot looks to provide an array of fresh and healthy alternatives to the traditional holiday temptations.
Mohamad Mtairek hopes to open his third Shish Kabob Express shortly after Thanksgiving in the North Pointe Plaza at 37111 S. Gratiot Ave. in Clinton Township.
Serving Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, including fresh-squeezed juice and smoothies, Shish Kabob Express also operates locations in Allen Park and Southfield.
“We are the first and the original,” Mtairek said. “If you look at the history of Middle Eastern cuisine in Michigan, (restaurants) start to pop up after 1995. We’ve been in business since 1995 and are one of the first.”
Using traditional recipes from the Middle East and his native Lebanon, Mtairek said nearly every item on his restaurant’s menu is prepared fresh on-site and contains no additional fats or preservatives.
“The spices are imported from the Middle East, the quality of chicken is all white meat and the beef that we use is No. 1 tenderloin beef. We don’t serve dark meat and never iceberg lettuce. We use romaine lettuce and the marinades are all extra virgin olive oil.”
Even the salad dressing used on the restaurant’s fattoush salad is “100 percent healthy,” Mtairek said, as it is made only of vinegar, lemon, olive oil and garlic sauce.
And for those unfamiliar with Middle Eastern cuisine, Mtairek said the garlic sauce alone is enough reason to plan a visit to Shish Kabob Express.
“I do recommend everyone to try garlic sauce. It’s made from fresh peeled garlic, olive oil and lemon. They’ve done a lot of research on garlic, how it is good for blood pressure, heart disease and for cholesterol. I sell a lot of garlic in my other locations. It’s unbelievable, and very tasty.”
Mtairek recommends spreading it on the store’s pita bread, which is baked fresh in Dearborn and shipped daily to his restaurants.
But for the customer who has to have some fried food in their diet, Mtairek said his restaurant’s award-winning sweet potato fries are the way to go.
Repeat customers can take advantage of the restaurant's customer appreciation card, which allows them to bank points with every purchase that can later be used for a complete meal.
"We appreciate our customers and encourage all customers to be regular customers," Mtairek said. "I like to spread my recipes and can't wait to be in Macomb County."
Once open, the Clinton Township location will offer dine-in, carry out, delivery and catering services for lunch and dinner. The restaurant will be open Monday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Free Wi-Fi will be available.