Hospitality News Middle East

Al Falamanki spreads Middle Eastern hospitalit­y

Authentic Lebanese café concept Al Falamanki has just opened its second branch in Beirut and third outlet regionally, facing the iconic Pigeon's Rock. Tony Ramy, CEO of Mood Village, the company behind Al Falamanki, continues to make strides in his aggres

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Al Falamanki opened its first branch in Sodeco, Lebanon, in 2008, taking the form of a nostalgic café that transports visitors back to 1960s’ Beirut. The venture was founded by a group of entreprene­urs with a repertoire of successful F&B and nightlife destinatio­ns: Najib Abu Hamza, Tony and Ted Ramy and Mario Jr. Haddad. Back then, traditiona­l shisha cafés were not branded nor had a specific Lebanese menu. Thus, Al Falamanki tapped into an opportunit­y, giving a Lebanese café a genuine identity. A decade later, dozens of similar concepts have popped up, inspired by this novel idea.

Big heart, big location

Named after Khalil Al Falamanki, a Lebanese wrestler-turned-bodyguard, a second branch in Lebanon for the restaurant was never on the founders’ agenda, until they came upon an appropriat­e location on Beirut’s shores. “Raouche (Pigeon's Rock) is an iconic Lebanese landmark and so is Al Falamanki. It was the perfect match,” Tony Ramy told HN. The new outlet stretches over 1600 square meters of space, split between an indoor and an outdoor area, and spread over three levels, with the capacity to seat 750 people. With this new addition, Al Falamanki’s family has grown to 500 employees, including Sodeco and Dubai team members. Investment in the project is over USD 2.5 million, excluding land and building costs.

Specialty food

Most items on the menu echo authentic Lebanese flavors, namely 'fattouch', 'fatteh' variety, fava 'hommos', the 'balila' and veggies found alongside the 'kafta' (minced meat) with 'tahini', served in clay dishes. In addition, the new menu includes a selection of finger foods and seafood appetizers to complement the new location.

Beyond social responsibi­lity

Prior to opening the new Raouche branch, Al Falamanki organized a campaign to clean up the surroundin­g beach area. The clean-up drive is one of the company’s key CSR initiative­s, reflecting its commitment to environmen­tal conservati­on and the protection of Beirut’s coastline. Furthermor­e, due to the restaurant's strategic location, the company took it upon itself to light up

the iconic Lebanese landmark, Pigeon's Rock. "It was a personal initiative, but an important one, not only for our guests, visiting in the evening, but for the city in general," Ramy said.

Al Falamanki abroad

Al Falamanki has managed to export Lebanese traditions to the region through its successful outlet in Dubai. Opened in 2016, the standalone venue faces the Four Seasons Hotel on Jumeirah Beach Road. Spanning a 2500 sqm site and benefiting from a large company investment of USD 6 million, the outlet has managed to turn heads in the UAE, gaining the status of a true landmark. Dekkanet Al Falamanki Dekkanet Al Falamanki is a convenient, agro-retail boutique, offering a wide variety of provisions from many of Lebanon’s villages, ranging from pantry and dairy products to vegetables, bread, pastries and sweets. The concept has also been exported to Dubai, where the rural-inspired store sells some of the goods and produce found on the restaurant’s menu, to provide people with a taste of Al Falamanki to take home. These include spices, olive oil, various flavors of jam, pickles, organic soap and herbs, all of which preserve the spirit of authentic Lebanese production, in addition to designers’ home products and kitchen wear.

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