Riad El Khaliabi is originally from Syria and opened his first restaurant in Moscow, Russia. In November, he brought his Middle Eastern flavors to Conroe with his family restaurant Mezze #1.

“I was very happy when I saw customers hugging me after being informed about my new restaurant location. It is nice to have a lot of repeating customers and we appreciate their loyalty,” El Khaliabi said.

The setup

El Khaliabi said the restaurant’s name refers to the restaurant's theme and his mission.

While mezze refers to several small dishes served as an appetizer in the Middle East, #1 supports El Khaliabi’s mission to satisfy customers with the best customer service along with quality ingredients, he said.

El Khaliabi said the ingredients used at the restaurant—such as olive oil, molasses, coffee and liquor—come directly from the Middle East.

How it started

El Khaliabi said while studying to earn a master’s degree in economics, he worked at a restaurant in Moscow. After earning his degree, he decided to use his knowledge and experience to start his own restaurant. He first brought his Middle Eastern cuisine to the U.S. in 2018 with a FLE FLE Grill, a fast-casual Mediterranean-style restaurant in Manhattan.

What’s on the menu?

El Khaliabi said he recommends new customers try the mixed grilled, made up of several small dishes to share that includes chicken shish tawook, beef kabobs, and lamb and beef kafta. This menu item can be ordered as a plate for one or two people or a board for three-plus people to share.

El Khaliabi said some speciality cocktails also recommended include the Cucumber Mule and Road to Damascus.

Along with its modern menu, Mezze #1 offers its customers a unique experience with services that include catering, hookah on the patio, a full bar and live belly dancing.

Mezze #1

1205 Grand Central Parkway, Ste. 100, Conroe