By Laura Weyman, Travel Editor
“Al Salaam” an Arabic greeting which translates to “peace “or “may peace be upon you”, according to Meqbel Salameh, owner of Al Salaam Deli, this is what his business name translates to.
He further explained that “Salaam” is the Arabic equivalent to Shalom in Hebrew, and just like Shalom, it is used as a greeting.
He added, “That’s a good name to start with. We come in peace and we try to make things nice and easy for everybody.”
His roots originate from Jordan, but Salameh came to Savannah 27 years ago after living in New York and Raleigh, North Carolina previously.
In 2000, he opened the doors of this little corner joint on Habersham and 40th street.
Salameh wanted to bring the Savannah community, especially students, a healthy alternative to all of the junk food options that were around at the time.
Additionally, he wanted to bring downtown Savannah the true ethnic taste of falafel, babaganoush, hummus and gyros.
The women in his family play a big factor in his method of cooking.
When asked what inspired him to open up this restaurant, he responded, “My grandma and mother. I used to always watch them”.
Al Salaam has become a staple amongst the downtown Savannah community, but like Salameh, said, “People don’t come because of convenience. They come here because they like the food”. He added, “people come here one time, and they always come back”.
His biggest clientele may be SCAD students, but Salameh encounters people from all over the country who stop by just to taste his lamb.
Al Salaam is known for its Gyros. Salameh stated, “The lamb we cannot keep. That’s what everybody is coming for.”
All of the meats served are Halal, and that brings in a huge crowd of Jewish and Muslim customers from all over the world.
Salameh even mentioned that he encounters many Armstrong nursing students that come through on their lunch break from working in the hospital.
Al salaam has won the Connect Savannah price for best Middle Eastern Restaurant for the past three years and has earned nearly 5 stars on Yelp, Google and TripAdvisor.
This little mom and pop shop caters to all. Whether you are a meat lover, vegetarian or vegan, there is a dish for you. So, if you have yet to taste Al Salaam’s food, be sure to stop by on your next down town adventure and pop in to say to hello to Meqbel and his wife, Rose.