A fun new take on fast-casual dining has come to Beechwood with the opening of BiBi’s (143 Putman Ave.). The name is a play on the word “habibi,” which means “my dear friend” in Arabic.
Co-owner and general manager Adam Weiss, who made his mark most recently as the GM at Fairouz, has teamed up with Fairouz co-owners Dr. Hussain Rahal and Tony Garcia to open the 16-seat café and takeout spot.
The trio are betting time-strapped locals looking for an upscale spin on Mediterranean fare will quickly fall in love with BiBi’s’ saj wraps. (Saj, for the record, is a more delicate take on the more common pita. Baked on a metal dome, it’s crisp, flavourful and so thin that it’s almost translucent.)
Weiss has leveraged close ties with the city’s top chefs to develop a menu of wraps and bowls that showcase a house-made baharat spice blend and signature marinades. Do order a drink to accompany your meal — Sloane tea created BiBi’s signature iced tea, made with a blend of black tea, mint, cardamom, and sarsaparilla.
Co-owner and GM Adam Weiss was looking for a new culinary challenge; Fairouz co-owners Dr. Hussain Rahal and Tony Garcia saw a new market niche.
Weiss took a step back from the restaurant scene in 2017, leaving Fairouz to upgrade his skills at Algonquin College, where he has spent the last two years completing a degree in hospitality and tourism management. Now, he says, it’s time to set down roots and grow his own business.
Weiss, who lives just down the road in Manor Park, is well-acquainted with the Beechwood strip and the surrounding neighbourhoods of New Edinburgh, Rockcliffe Park, and Vanier. He’s betting that residents and those driving through will ensure BiBi’s thrives.
Those who know and love saj will tell you that the delicate Middle Eastern bread is far superior to pita. According to Weiss, Le Pain Saj Express in Montreal, which ships almost daily to BiBi’s, makes the most authentic saj in the country.
Saj wrap (falafel): with tahini, tomato cucumber mint salata, pickles, hot pepper, lettuce, sumac onions
Saj wrap (baharat spiced chicken): with garlic, tomato cucumber mint salsa, pickles, lettuce, sumac onions, za’atar fries
Bowl (steak and taheen): with hummus, tahini, tomato cucumber mint salata, pickles, lettuce, sumac onions
Sides include fried cauliflower with tahini sauce, za’atar fries with hummus or garlic sauce, and chickpea salad.
Note: BiBi’s is cashless. It does not have a liquor license, but does serve a signature iced tea and a selection of Middle Eastern sodas.
143 Putman Ave.
Open daily, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.