S. ABINGTON TWP. — Dominic Saadi, manager of The New Cafe at Greystone Gardens, 829 Old State Road, calls himself a “working manager.” He says while food is a very important component of the restaurant, the atmosphere is just as important.
“The whole idea is to purvey a happy experience for our guests – excellent service, the food is plated in an attractive way,” he said. “The whole restaurant is geared for a nice meal with friends and family. You don’t have loud music, you don’t have a TV blaring, it’s all to encourage conversation with family and friends.”
The New Cafe will participate in Taste of the Abingtons for the second straight year.
The event, which features samples from dozens of local restaurants, caterers and more, is set for Sunday, Sept. 29 from 5-8 p.m. at the Ramada, 820 Northern Blvd. It is hosted by and is the premier fundraiser for the Rotary Club of the Abingtons. Tickets are available from any Rotary club member and on Eventbrite.
The dish Saadi chose to serve at Taste of the Abingtons will encourage the idea of sharing and building community. The cafe will show off six different dips served with chips and pita bread.
When dining at the restaurant, which moved to its Clarks Summit location from North Washington Avenue in Scranton nearly three years ago, this appetizer is served as one dish, and Saadi said guests enjoy sharing it. However, for Taste of the Abingtons, each dip will be featured separately.
“It’s got six items, all gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian. The hummus is probably the most popular appetizer,” he said.
In addition to the hummus, which features chick peas, a sesame paste and extra virgin olive oil will be muhammara, a walnut dip made with walnuts, pomegranate, molasses, red bell pepper and hadisa, which is a mild chili, fruit-flavored spice. There will also be vegetarian grape leaves with rice, tomato and lemon.
Saadi says the baba ghanouj, a roasted eggplant dip with tahini (a sesame paste) and olive oil, is also popular. Next, the falafel includes fava beans, chick peas, mint parsley and red onions. It’s served with a bed of tahina and garnished with tomato and cucumber.
The New Cafe offers many vegan and vegetarian options, and providing healthful options is something Saadi takes very seriously.
“Were unique because we bake it. We don’t fry anything here. For health reasons and so forth, it’s always baked, not fried,” he said. “Because it’s baked, we make it a little more complex and use more ingredients.”
The restaurant is widely inspired by the Mediterranean theme, which Saadi said is often promoted as the healthiest way of eating. While offering a Mediterranean menu, Saadi calls it “contemporary Mediterranean,” which is influenced by Lebanese, but broader and includes many original creations as well.
Saadi enjoyed his first experience at Taste of the Abingtons last year and is excited to give back to the community again.
“It was a great crew and it’s a worthwhile cause,” he said. “The Rotarians had their summer party here last month. I’m just happy to contribute to this worthwhile cause.”
Given its location, slightly off of the busier roads, Saadi hopes to bring more people into The New Cafe.”
“I think it’s an outstanding restaurant for a lot of reasons, not just for the food. The healthy eating as a way to create good habits; we promote it and talk about that a lot,” he said. “They’re guests and the food is kind of a way of bringing them together. While the food is very good and we’re very concerned, it’s not just about the food. It’s about purveying a worthwhile experience.”
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