Leyla will not open this weekend, as previously announced, but the downtown Lebanese restaurant is aiming to have its doors open by Wednesday.
“I was hoping,” says owner Dolly Awkar, a first-time restaurateur who switched from selling rugs to hawking hummus because her accent prompted so many customers to ask where they could find food from her native country. “I did my best.”
The Labor Day holiday delayed the issuance of a certificate of occupancy; Leyla is scheduled for city inspection on Tuesday.
Awkar and her husband, Joseph, have spent much of the last month training servers, many of whom have no previous experience with Middle Eastern cookery, and tasting dishes created by chef Vatche Meguerdichian. Meguerdichian previously helmed Los Angeles’ Alcazar, named one of the city’s 99 essential restaurants in 2011 by critic Jonathan Gold. Continue reading →
Jestine’s Kitchen was not facing any citations for building code violations prior to its sudden closure, a city spokeswoman today confirmed.
According to Charleston spokeswoman Barbara Vaughn, none of the city’s departments charged with code enforcement were involved with the downtown restaurant when it abruptly shut down last Thursday afternoon. The timing of the closure and reference to “renovations” on the restaurant’s outgoing voice mail message had led some patrons to speculate that the 1949 building had failed inspection.