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Two Lebanese Stores to Open Following El Shater Closure

Ahmad Osman to open Souk El Shater (Photo: QueensPost)

May 10, 2011 By Christian Murray

The April closing of El Shater, the Lebanese store that was located at the corner of 43rd Ave. and 43rd Street, has proved to be a real boon for Sunnyside residents who love Middle Eastern food.

Two Lebanese stores/restaurants have emerged in Sunnyside following the closing of the family-run business. Both stores are a little over a block from one another.

Mehdi Osman, one of the brothers who had a stake in El Shater, said earlier this month that he is remaining in the original El Shater location and establishing a new Lebanese store/restaurant by the name of Habibi, which is Arabic for “my friend.” It is expected to open in June and will be fully renovated both inside and out. (see previous story)

Meanwhile, Ahmad Osman, Mehdi’s older brother and the founder of El Shater, has just signed a lease to open a store/restaurant on Queens Blvd (between 43rd and 44th). He originally planned to move to Astoria but that deal fell through.

Ahmad’s store, which will be named “Souk El Shater”, will be similar to the original El Shater, but more modern. It will feature fresh-cut meats, a gyro machine and grill. The store will sell falafel sandwiches, hummus, and other Lebanese treats.

Ahmad, who has lived in Sunnyside for more than two decades, said the neighborhood is big enough to support both Lebanese stores. He said that there are already Turkish restaurants in Sunnyside that offer similar products—so competition already exists.

Souk El Shater, which is expected to open in July, will be decorated with paintings of Lebanese tourist sites.


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Improper Recognition

I don’t find it fair that the articles only mention one owner. Michael Ajaka of Lentinis Pizza also owns the restaurant, and deserves much recognition, especially of the many times i stopped in to see the work being done, i only saw him working on renovations.

Improper Recognition

why do all these articles only give credit to one of the owners of Habibi. Michael Ajaka of Lentinis Pizza is also the owner of Habibi. This is not fair, especially since i saw only Michael renovating the store when i passed by.

stef and sam

I have loved the food at El Shater for years. It was one the little perks of living in Queens. I am so glad that there will be more opportunity to enjoy food made from this really nice, generous and talented family. Best of luck.


It is great that this family is renting out our empty stores. Maybe the other members want to rest of our stores and keep their business going. I mean we all need to eat!


I’m offended that they want to have these “mideast eateries” within ten miles of Ground Zero!


I knew the family fairly well, and their food was great. Ahmad the older brother was a great guy. Wish Ahmad all the best.


We have a lot of mideast eateries – I hope they are all successful. Love the Mangal Kebab.

45th and Skillman

They should call the new place at 43rd and 43rd “The Pigeon’s Nest”.


Nice, really ejoy the food at mangal on 46th and queens blvd, an this is welcome competion!

Oppressed Masses

I know the following is “wrong church, wrong pew”, but this saga is starting to sound like the “loaves and the fishes”. In any event, it’s all good for our community.


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