My introduction to Middle Eastern cuisine was nowhere near picture perfect. In retrospect, it plays out like an episode of Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods. In my defense, I was about 8 years old and a very picky eater. On Fridays, My grandfather would treat my brother and I to dinner at the Lebanese Club. He would always order up some lamb, grape leaves, and rice. My brother was right on board, yet I was hesitant to leave my comfort zone. I was ignorant to the idea of eating lamb let alone a leaf stuffed with meat and rice.
I would sit there and pout, hoping on the way home he would stop for pizza. Thankfully, he was old-school and didn’t play that game. So, shortly thereafter I let my guard down, giving in to what became a lifelong food love-affair. I certainly owe it to my grandfather for challenging my taste buds at a young age.
Like so many other clubs in Beaver County, the Lebanese Club is for its regular members to enjoy. But, you’re in luck . . . because on Friday and Saturday their kitchen is open to the public from 4pm until 10pm.
If you’re reading this and asking yourself, “Why haven’t I been to the Lebanese Club before?” then it can only be one of two things. Either you generally don’t care for Middle Eastern food . . . which I can’t help you with, or, you didn’t know it existed.
It is my job to inform anyone in the dark that the Lebanese Club is open to the public as a fully functional family-friendly eatery, two days a week. Say that 5 times fast!
The Lebanese Club (nicknamed “the Leb Club” by regulars) has been making authentic Middle Eastern cuisine as far back as I can remember. They specialize in what they like to call: Lebanese comfort food.
For me, It’s like the saying goes, “If it isn’t broke – then don’t fix it” which is why I never stray far from the Leb Club mix plate. It’s a little bit of everything I love. The mix plate is equipped with premium lamb that’s cooked to order, stuffed grape leaves, salad, a very generous portion of rice pilaf and of course – Lebanese bread!
They have a diverse menu for a kitchen that only operates two days a week. The menu is very accommodating, especially with my vegetarian wife, as she’s always content with two of her favorites, their homemade hummus and tabouli. My two year old daughter shows no signs of being a picky eater and enjoys a little bit of everything. When I order, I always sneak in a last minute dozen of grape leaves for later that night, because I can never get enough of the Leb Club’s specialty.
In addition to our household favorites they offer a lamb and chicken salad, both served over mixed greens, feta cheese, olives, cucumber, cherry tomato, and onion with house dressing. Grilled to perfection Lamb and chicken kabobs are also two of their specialties, both served with rice and bread. Love it or hate it . . . kibbeh is a local favorite at the club. Kibbeh is a mix of premium beef and spices, served with Lebanese bread, onion, and banana peppers. They even offer it fully cooked for anyone that can’t wrap their head around eating a mix of raw meat.
If you’re lucky enough to save room for dessert then be sure to snag some baklava or other seasonal treats. While the food is a home-run for any international foodie, you’ll be glad to know they have a full service bar with wine, beer, liquor, and of course non-alcoholic drinks . . . all available during your visit.
Takeout is available for anyone on the move. For a full menu of everything I’ve mentioned, in addition to a few more favorites, checkout their website – www.thelebaneseclub.org – or look them up on Facebook. They ask that you notify them for parties over 6 and remember to bring cash, because they don’t take plastic.
Who’s in the Kitchen
In their kitchen, you’re going to come up empty handed if a well-known executive chef is what you’re looking for. The mastermind behind this food experience is a “Matriarchal Dream-Team” collectively making authentic Lebanese cuisine using recipes handed down from generations before them.
In the back of the house you’ll find a handful of sweet ladies that just really love to cook. Some of these ladies are the ones responsible for rolling the grape leaves week after week . . . I think that deserves a round of applause.
It’s old-world cuisine sitting quietly in the middle of small-town America, and it’s no question the Lebanese Club is one of the area’s best kept secrets. Well, now the secret is out for those who were left in the dark. Beaver County has always been a collection of food treasures, so If quality, fresh made food is something you hold close, then simply stop in the Leb Club. Trust me . . . they would love to have you over for dinner.