Family offers food of homeland

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The Jerusalem Cafe, which opened Wednesday, May 18, promises to add an international flavor to the mix of Oak Park's hundred-plus list of restaurants and coffee shops. The cafe brings its family-owned charm and reasonably priced, made-from-scratch Mediterranean dishes to the Marion Street Mall.

The restaurant is licensed to Chadia Al-Sheikh, who operates the restaurant with her husband, Mohamad, and brother-in-law, Mousa Al-Sheikh.

The team said they chose to open for business in Oak Park because of its diversity.

"Oak Park has well-traveled, well-informed residents who we know appreciate ethnic food," said Mousa Al-Sheikh.

The restaurant, open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., aims to create an authentic atmosphere of the culture in Jerusalem, where the Al-Sheikh family originates. The cafe is decorated with traditional crafts that were handmade by the brothers' mother and Chadia, and Middle Eastern music plays in the background. The menu includes falafel (fried balls of spiced ground chick peas), hummus (a dip traditionally eaten with pita bread), and shish kabob, a Middle Eastern cuisine made with meat and vegetables grilled on a stick, all made to order and seasoned with spices imported from the Middle East.

Mohamad and Chadia Al-Sheikh recently moved to Chicago from San Francisco, where they operated a similar restaurant with another of Al-Sheikh's brothers, who remains at that restaurant. The Al-Sheikhs are currently working to negotiate another lease to open a branch of the restaurant in Naperville, but have no definite plans.

?#34;Stephanie Thies

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