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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.

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.

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">