ELKO – Odeh’s Mediterranean Restaurant opened last week with a brand new cuisine to the delight of many Elkoans.

Odeh’s is owned and run by a family that has always dined on Middle Eastern food, after all, they are originally from Bethlehem.

“This is traditional food,” said Tony Odeh. “We are trying to serve food that is not like anything else in Elko.”

Early each day the family goes to the restaurant and begins working on fresh fare. They assemble everything from scratch, with the exception of the bread, which they purchase from a bakery in Salt Lake City.

Large quantities of garbanzo beans are soaked and cooked, eventually destined to become hummus, the soft and spicy dip or spread that is served as a side dish or alone with bread. Lamb and other meats are flavored with spices that the Odehs purchase directly from sources in Bethlehem and Las Vegas, as they are unable to find the special flavorings here.

Reem Odeh makes baklava every day and the gooey and buttery concoction is far superior to the processed variety. I can attest to this as a small piece seemed to find its way into my bag of purchases.

The business originally started out as a catering operation but the family was so successful at the events they served at, including the Mining Expo and Cowboy Poetry Gathering, that they decided to open a full service restaurant.

“The first week we were really busy,” said Tony.

Right now the menu is concise but plans are in the works for creating an extended selection including wine and beer.

We are looking for places to make our own beer or serve traditional Arabic beers, said Tony. His cousin, Issa Koury, has a beer brewery in Las Vegas.

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“That might be one of the options,” said Tony. “We may bring in samples and see what people like.”

One of the main items on the menu that the Odehs recommend a lot is the shawarma sandwich, lavash bread stuffed with beef, lamb, or chicken, tahini and vegetables. The meat is spiced with a Mediterranean concoction of seasoning and cooked on a grill. None of their meats are frozen ahead of time.

“The food is delicious and the people are friendly,” said Carolyn Trainer on Facebook. This is a nice change from the food choices around town. We will definitely be back.”

People have the option of eating in or taking out. In time the family may offer a delivery option.

“Some people have come in here four to five days in a row,” said Issa Odeh.

Hard workers, the entire family stays at the restaurant from about 6 a.m. to 9 or 10 p.m. each making sure they will have enough items prepped for the next busy day.

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