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Councilman John Akouri, former Washington, DC Press Secretary & Capitol Hill Advisor, is President & CEO of the Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


The Third Annual Lebanese Festival
A Vibrant World Class Celebration of Heritage, Culture & Art
August 28-29 at Town Square in Downtown Northville
(NORTHVILLE, MI/USA)...The Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce LEBFEST! The 2009 Lebanese Festival – A Vibrant World-class Celebration of Heritage, Culture & Art at Town Square in Downtown Northville.
The third annual two-day event – also known as a ‘Mahrajan’ – will take place on Friday, August 28, from 5:00 PM – 11:00 PM & Saturday, August 29, 2009 from 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM. Everyone is welcome to attend and encouraged to bring family & friends to savor the sights, sounds and tastes of EVERYTHING LEBANESE! The weekend event will feature: specialty food booths offering tasty authentic Lebanese cuisine & American fare; International Artisans, Crafters and Lebanese merchandise tents; a Children’s Fun & Play area; Live Entertainment with Music, Folkdance Troupes & Bellydancers; Cultural Displays, Mouth-watering Pastries & Homemade Ice Cream, a traditional Ethnic Bazaar & Market, and more!
Honorary Chairperson of the 2009 Festival Host Committee is Pamela Faris, wife of Lt. Governor John D. Cherry. The 2009 LEBFEST Grand Marshall is HBO Sports Commentator & Kronk Gym Legend Emmanuel Steward, who will officially cut the ribbon to open the concert. Steward, the former boxing coach for Tommy Hearns, has trained many young, up-and-coming Lebanese American boxers and will be joined on the MainStage by acting Lebanese Consul General Ara Khatchadourian, Award-winning Lebanese American author Raff Ellis, Miss Lebanon USA, His Grace, Capt. Rev. Father Elie Zouein, P.P., Our Lady of Lebanon Pastor Very Rev. Fr. Hanna Tayar, O.M.M., Northville Mayor Christopher J. Johnson, Northville Township Trustees Abe Munfakh & Christopher Roosen, Honorary Consul of Grenada Rob David, and The Official Red Robin Mascot.
The Baalbeck-style live concert on the Paramount Bank Stage will present ‘An Evening of Lebanese Stars’ under the Northville skies, with a special appearance by the ‘Voice’ of the Detroit Red Wings Karen Newman singing the US & Canadian National Anthems, Lebanese Diva Amalia Kaddo, International Superstar Usama Baalbaki, the Jazz Stylings of Eric Watson, Hollywood Actor Alex Safi, Comedians from the Arab American Comedy Show, Oud Virtuoso Laith Alattar & Al-Flamenco, The Abud Brothers Jazz Quartet, Composer & Vocalist Tara Khnanisho, Highly-acclaimed Opera Performer Lara Alamie, The Fabulous Nicholas Brothers with Percussionist Extraordinaire Tony ‘The Tiger’ Tannous among others.
Some highlights for this year include new features at LEBFEST! with the First Annual Bachelor Auction benefiting the Lebanese Chamber, a Fashion Show by Lebanese designer Deanna Ansara, an Open Casting Call coupled with a Special Movie Premiere of the Film Short: Detroit Unleaded, a special appearance by Arabian Villagers from the Michigan Renaissance Festival, photo opportunities with Miss LEBFEST! ‘08 Nancy Daoud & Miss LEBFEST! ’09 Nicole Frangie, and two great bands will perform: America's favorite Rock'n'Roll Band Steve King & the Dittilies and Al Sutterfield & The Complete Abandon Band.
Festival Eve will bring an exclusive red-carpet Celebrity Preview Party to the Tom James Gallery of Fine Art in Northville. This star-studded event and champagne reception will include an exhibit of great new works by renown Lebanese American Artist Stephen Deeb and a book-signing by best-selling Lebanese American author from Florida, Raff Ellis. Patrons can expect celebrity sightings with the presence of several Detroit sports figures; dine on delicious Lebanese culinary hors d'oeuvres, courtesy of Beirut Bakery and tantalizing desserts thanks to the all new Sweet 220 - all while listening to the soothing sounds of the internationally acclaimed Abud Brothers Jazz Quartet. Much more awaits guests as they arrive along the limousine-lined curb to be formally greeted by models from Deanna’s Fashions, with guided tours of one of Michigan’s most awe-inspiring galleries at this invitation-only spectacular event.
As part of the official closing ceremonies of this year's LEBFEST!, the Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce in association with Madonna University Department of Broadcast & Cinema Arts, is hosting an Advance Screening of a short film shot entirely on location in Detroit, on Sunday, August 30, at 2:00pm. Film executives will be introduced by Hollywood Actor Alex Safi and be in attendance at the feature premiere to offer brief remarks prior to the start of the film. Immediately following the showing, there will be a question and answer session from the audience and an opportunity for photos and autographs. Also, in special arrangement with the Chamber, DVD copies of the film will be available for purchase before and after the screening. Seating is limited to the first 300 guests, and a release date for the full length feature will be announced.
LEBFEST! is a project of the Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce. Admission is free. Town Square is located in beautiful downtown Northville and is situated off of Main Street between Center & Hutton Streets. Guests are encouraged to bring a lawn chair to sit on to enjoy the concert. Opening Ceremonies take place on Friday at 6:30 PM. An official AfterParty takes place on Saturday night at Bak Bar following the concert.
For more information please visit
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"2Booli Makes a Mediterranean Splash" Farmington Press Article Quotes LACC President John Akouri

By David Wallace / C & G Staff Writer
FARMINGTON HILLS — The people behind 2Booli, a new Mediterranean restaurant that opened at 12 Mile and Halsted in April, see great potential. They first saw promise in the site, which once was a La Shish, a popular Lebanese restaurant before its owner’s legal problems caused the chain to fail. The 2Booli owners, an offshoot of the Ansara Restaurant Group, have nothing to do with the former restaurant. Lew Ansara, one of the partners in 2Booli and a Farmington Hills resident, wanted something more than what people are used to from Lebanese restaurants.
“I don’t think just another Lebanese restaurant is good enough,” said Ansara. So to broaden 2Booli’s appeal, it offers food from across the Mediterranean, including Greek and Italian dishes. Diners might see kafta and spaghetti at the same table. The ownership spared no expense in building the restaurant, gutting the former site. They hired a master chef, and a designer from Vancouver selected the décor, which includes many fine subtle touches. A bread oven serves as a focal point toward the restaurant’s rear. “We put a substantial amount of money into this place,” said Ansara. That the restaurant took off probably should not come as a surprise, since the Ansara family has decades of experience running restaurants. The Ansara Restaurant Group, for example, owns all of the Red Robins in the state, plus five Big Boy restaurants.
“I really think it’s a breath of fresh air for Farmington Hills,” said former City Councilman John Akouri, now the president and CEO of the Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce. Someday, 2Booli might be a breath of fresh air for other cities, as well. The ownership group sees potential in the brand. Ansara said the hope is that this new restaurant will lead to a second, third and fourth, and perhaps to franchises around the country. Akouri said the amount of preplanning that went into 2Booli will make it a success.
Asked his favorite dish, Ansara chose the mujadra — lentils, rice and caramelized onions. The entrée costs $8.99. Other entrees include the $13.99 kafta — spiced ground beef that is charbroiled and served with onions, parsley, hommous and rice pilaf — the $10.99 rigatoni ragu and the $23.99 lamb chops. The menu also offers about a dozen sandwiches, many of which are $5.99-$6.99, including a Mediterranean wrap, a beef shawarma pita and a kafta pita. Appetizers include hommous and pita for $6.99, stuffed grape leaves for $7.99, and of course, 2Booli for $7.49. Soup-lovers probably would not want to miss the lentil soup for $3.99. One other touch not to miss during a visit: a hallway toward the rear of the restaurant is a Lebanese American hall of fame featuring large pictures of such famous people as quarterback John Elway, actor and philanthropist Danny Thomas and actress Salma Hayek. 2Booli’s address is 37610 W. 12 Mile Road.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce Unveils New 2009 Lebanese Festival Poster

Monday, August 03, 2009

LEBFEST! Lebanese Festival Launches New Website:

JOHN AKOURI ONLINE NEWSROOM 'We will confront this mortal danger to all humanity. We will not tire, or rest, until the war on terror is won.' -- PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH Add to end of above"line without paranthesis when wanting to loop sound (( loop="-1">