New Livonia restaurant features shawarma and much more
Livonia’s newest eatery has a menu packed with something for everyone.
There are subs, wings, burgers, salad – you name it, they serve it – with flavor and care.
Look no further than its name, however, to discover what has become the favorite offering of Shawarma In A Box, which has already established a budding customer base since opening at 16368 Middlebelt Road in mid-December.
“Our shawarma sandwiches and shawarma pizza seem to be most popular among our repeat customers,” revealed Al Chehab, who co-owns the carry-out restaurant with longtime friend and fellow restaurateur Ray Hazaem.
“The shawarma pizza is a traditional pizza, but we’ve put our own spin on it. We cut up chicken shawarma meat, put it on a regular pizza, spread lettuce over the chicken and top it with our special house sauce. It’s definitely been one of our top sellers.”
Pull into the restaurant’s parking lot and it’s easy to understand why the month-old business is gaining traction in Livonia. Its exterior is decorated with holiday lights wrapped around brick columns and the interior has a warm, cozy waiting area for patrons waiting to pick up their meals.
“We really wanted to establish a family atmosphere, so we upgraded the lighting and put up some lights outside,” Chehab said. “We wanted to revive the place. We treat our customers like family, too. When they come in, we don’t just hand them their food. We ask them how their family is doing, things like that.
“The feedback we’ve received so far has been great. We’re getting a lot of new and repeat customers, which is always a good sign because they wouldn’t be back if they didn’t enjoy our food the first time. We’ve received nothing but five-star reviews on Google. And our neighbors have been so supportive. We’re very thankful.”
Passion for making great food
Chehab has weaved a compelling backstory. A successful pizzeria owner years ago, he switched things up temporarily and became a truck driver.
“After a while, I found out that once you have a passion for the restaurant industry like I do, it’s hard to let it go,” he said. “We decided to give it another shot with this place and I’m so happy we did.
“We’ve incorporated Middle Eastern cuisines with pizza, subs and a lot of other menu items because we want to offer a variety.”
Chehab, who was raised in Dearborn and currently resides in Canton, said the Middlebelt Road location was perfect for what he and his business partner had in mind for their new venture.
“I love the city of Livonia, number one because it’s such a stable city,” he said. “And the location we’re at now is so close to other cities. The minute I walked into this building (when they were looking for a site) I felt a kind of relief about it; it just felt right.”
They agreed to the name after serious and fun conversations.
“It’s a fun process because right away you think of a million names – some that will work, others that won’t,” he said. “It’s kind of like naming a child, you know? We wanted to represent our Middle Eastern food with shawarma and we’re a take-out place, so everything is served in a box or a container.
“Shawarma In A Box just clicked for us.”
The eatery is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. They will cater events and offer an in-house delivery service, Chehab emphasized.
To learn more about Shawarma In A Box, visit its Facebook page. Orders can be made in person or by calling 734-237-4405.