DETROIT, Mich – Olympia Development of Michigan joins the award-winning Sahara Restaurant & Grill to announce that the local favorite will bring its unique Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors The District Detroit by opening its first location in the city next year. The 4,500-square-foot space will be in the retail space now under construction at the Little Caesars world headquarters campus expansion on Columbia Street.
"We're bringing the taste and authenticity of Chaldean and Mediterranean food into Detroit. Sahara has been around for 37 years and we're excited about being able to do that," said Zeana Attisha, co-owner of Sahara Restaurant & Grill in Oak Park, Sahara Restaurant & Banquet Center in Sterling Heights and Sahara Market & Bakery in Warren and the forthcoming location in The District Detroit, "it is very exciting because there's going to be constant activity. We're going to be part of a community of fun dining experiences, games and concerts."
Patrons can expect dishes prepared by highly-trained cooks that use locally-sourced foods and ingredients from area farmers and food suppliers. The new restaurants menu will feature "a little Motor City flair," along with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern favorites, like grape leaves, falafel, fattoush, tabbouleh and varieties of meat shawarma, which is cooked on a rotating vertical rotisserie cone often stuffed inside pita sandwiches.
Sahara's farm-to-table menu will also feature the same home style Chaldean dishes found in Iraq, including specially marinated meats using traditional spices; a tomato-based white bean soup and torshi, a picked cabbage, turnip and beet appetizer. Many dishes at Sahara rely upon increasingly popular spices like turmeric, which, by nature, are good for physical health, Attisha said.
"Introducing a different type of food into the The District Detroit is especially exciting to us," Attisha said.
Patrons can also expect build-your-own combo plates and unique fusion like "Sahara fries," a popular customer made creation combining French-fries, a half order of shawarma and a drizzle of the restaurant's tangy house-made ranch sauce. Other items will include ready-to-eat baked goods, beer on tap and other alcoholic beverages, including the Chaldean favorite, Arak. The distilled spirit features the bold flavor of anise seed and has a slight licorice flavor. Gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options will also be available.
Attisha's husband and co-owner, Saad Attisha, founded the restaurant nearly 40 years ago. The eatery first served the metro Detroit area on a small corner in downtown Ferndale before moving to Oak Park. Today, the centrally-located eatery on Coolidge Highway remains a popular night and weekend favorite among area residents.
Sahara, known for its intricate designs and jewel-toned themed furnishings will bring in designers, painters and architects to create a unique decor for the Detroit location. During the warm weather months, the restaurant will also offer outdoor dining along the European-style promenade on Columbia Street.
In 2013, Sahara received the "Best of Oak Park" award from the Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce, which includes members from Ferndale, Oak Park and nearby communities. The Detroit News also named the restaurant one of the top five Middle Eastern restaurants in the metropolitan area. In recent years, the restaurant garnered multiple visits from celebrity hip-hop DJ and social media personality, DJ Khaled.
"We are really excited to have Sahara coming to The District Detroit where many new diners will be able to enjoy their unique Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes and decor," said Travis Arborgast, Vice President of Development at Olympia Development, "This unique establishment signifies the diversity we will continue to attract to this exciting, new retail and dining destination."
Located west of Woodward Avenue, the new retail options on Columbia Street will serve patrons before and after events at the historic Fox Theatre, Comerica Park and other nearby sports and entertainment venues. The new storefronts will total nearly 40,000 square feet of new shops and restaurants along a block-long, pedestrian-friendly strip that will vaunt cobblestone paving and festoon lighting.
The District Detroit retailers properties are represented by Scott Young and Ashley Ketko of CBRE. For more information on becoming a tenant, please call 248-353-5400.