CLEVELAND — When Fady Chamoun opened the first Aladdin's Eatery in 1994, he and his family had to make frequent trips to Detroit or Canada to procure the ingredients that went into making the Middle Eastern food on the menu.
As the business grew from one store to three, Chamoun decided to stop relying on others for staples like Lebanese olive oil, tahini, garbanzo beans and fresh pita by building his own bakery and commissary. Since then, Aladdin's has expanded to more than 30 locations in four states, joined along the way by additional Taza and Boaz restaurants.
To better support those stores, the family built out a larger bakery and commissary inside a 50,000-square-foot warehouse on the Lakewood-Cleveland border. At the heart of the operation is a fully automated production line that transforms sticky dough into fresh-baked pitas.
Inside the warm, moist, cavernous space, dough is shaped, proofed, pressed, baked, cooled and packaged at a rate of 10,000 to 15,000 pita per day. The pitas are sold under the Jasmine Bakery name, making their way not just to Aladdin's, Taza and Boaz restaurants, but also Middle Eastern markets throughout the region.
While most menu items are made from scratch at every restaurant, some time-intensive staples are made at the commissary and shipped to stores. Those items include the kibbe, hot sauce and stuffed grape leaves, which are rolled by hand with exacting precision.
The large warehouse also serves as home base for the Terranean brand of Middle Eastern products. Items like za’atar spreads and spice mixtures can be ordered online or purchased from the onsite retail shop that also stocks a wide variety of Mediterranean ingredients.
Of course, this is also the place to purchase some of the freshest pita in town.