When entering Mary’z Mediterranean Cuisine in Shenandoah, it is nearly impossible to avoid seeing the two shawarma skewers—one chicken and one beef—slowly rotating in the kitchen, while the rest of the staff works to craft fresh Lebanese meals throughout the day.
Since opening the Shenandoah location in August, Manager Nizar Richdan said the community has treated the restaurant well.
“Everyone who tried or knew us from Houston and came here [was excited],” Richdan said. “We are always trying to raise the bar in everything we introduce, from the interior to the bar. In Houston, we’re one of the rarest Mediterranean [restaurants] with a full bar, hookah and great food.”
While The Woodlands-area location offers only wine and beer, Richdan said the idea is to please the vast majority of guests.
‘What we serve, we eat’
Mary’z Mediterranean Cuisine focuses its menu on traditional Lebanese offerings, ranging from dips such as hummus and babba ghannouj, or mashed eggplant, to chicken skewers and shawarma, which is cooked on a rotisserie and sliced thin.
Richdan said the menu has been successful with customers because the dishes use fresh ingredients, and every item is made fresh in-house. According to Richdan, Mary’z staff members often run to the store several times each week to ensure the quality of the ingredients used.
“If you try us for the first time, you get hooked because we know what we have,” he said. “Whatever we serve people, we eat. Everything is fresh. … We have quality along with fair prices for our portions.”
According to Richdan, every item on the menu sells well, though some of his personal favorites include the hummus and fried cauliflower, tabuli salad, shish tawook—marinated chicken skewers—and both the cream and walnut baklava. Baklava is a dessert made from thin layers of pastry around a sweet filling.
“We believe in presenting our background as is. We’re trying to present it to everyone here,” Richdan said.
While offering a Mediterranean menu often elicits thoughts of Greek flavors, owners Mary and Samir Fakhoury opted to bring tastes they grew up with in North Lebanon before they chose to move to Houston in 2001, he said.
Keeping it in the family
Mary’z Mediterranean Cuisine is a family-owned and -operated institution, with the Fakhoury siblings Jimy, Mira and Nano now running the two Houston locations and The Woodlands-area location. Richdan, a son-in-law, ensures things run smoothly with The Woodlands branch of the restaurant.
Richdan said he welcomes both positive and negative feedback from customers to offer a better experience.
“We try to work on people’s feedback,” he said. “If we made a mistake, we try to fix it and learn from our mistakes. We’re humans, we make mistakes sometimes … but we try to move on and work on it.”
Mary’z Mediterranean Cuisine
1500 Research Forest Drive, Ste. 100, Shenandoah
Hours: Sun.-Thu. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m.