Mediterranean restaurant Jed's Kitchen opened on Dec. 17, replacing Peño Mediterranean Grill at 105 East Franklin St.
The restaurant offers a variety of classic Mediterranean dishes like gyro and shawarma pita wraps, shish kababs and falafel, along with signature Moroccan tagine dishes. Nearly the entire menu is halal, meaning it adheres to the dietary rules of the Qur’an.
Larbi Jeddour, who owns the restaurant with his partner, Cathy Starks, said he wanted his menu to be inclusive, and emphasized that anyone could eat halal. Jeddour, who is originally from Morocco, said there was not yet a restaurant just for Moroccan food in the Triangle area.
“We choose Chapel Hill because of the many cultures that live or attend school here,” Jeddour said.
While the stars of the menu may be its numerous lamb, kofta and chicken dishes, UNC first-year Maya Stroud, was able to enjoy a vegetarian meal at Jed's in late January. She said the environment was more than welcoming and accommodating of her diet.
Jed’s Kitchen fits right in with the diverse community of businesses in Chapel Hill. Stroud, one of UNC’s many Muslim students, said she initially wanted to try the restaurant because it’s Moroccan owned and halal.
“It’s important to me to support Muslim-owned businesses,” she said.
Jeddour said opening a restaurant during the pandemic was difficult. Matt Gladdek, executive director of the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, echoed this sentiment while explaining how Franklin Street businesses have adapted.
“Restaurants and all businesses are struggling,” Gladdek said. “Work from home at offices and the University has really decreased foot traffic in downtown.”
Still, Jeddour and Gladdek are hopeful that things will get better for restaurants in downtown Chapel Hill.
“I have faith once people try our food, they will come again,” Jeddour said. “ We currently have customers coming from Raleigh, Cary and Morrisville.”
Gladdek said he is optimistic that as the vaccine is distributed and COVID-19 cases decrease, people will be excited to be back at the office and in downtown Chapel Hill.
“We had to go slowly at first,” Jeddour said. “If anyone comes, we want them to come again. I believe in my food.”
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