THE PERSON: Greenville native Edwin McCain, a singer-songwriter and rock musician, has had two Top-40 hits—“I’ll Be” (1998) and “I Could Not Ask for More” (1999)—and five albums on the Billboard 200 in a career that began in 1994. He has toured with fellow South Carolinians Hootie & the Blowfish and is one of the state’s most popular performers.
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL? “It’s fantastic. They use all fresh ingredients, and they also have the greatest lemonade. They (the Namouz family) are an incredible Palestinian-Christian family who started out renting this little corner of a building, and now they own the building. It’s a perfect American story about how people come here, work hard and become embedded in the fabric of the community. I couldn’t be any prouder to call them my friends, and they have unbelievably good food.”
FROM THE KITCHEN: “We’re family owned and have been in Greenville 31 years," said Zaid Namouz, one of three brothers who started the restaurant. "We came from Israel, are Israeli citizens. We started with family members working and now have 18 employees."
“All our food is authentic Middle East recipes. For the shwarma, we use a homemade rotisserie with the meat on a spit. We season it with our blend of seven aged spices on the skewer, then we shave it off and put it on a plate with hummus, falafel and other items. We also make our own pita bread fresh each morning. If you like Middle Eastern food and you eat ours, you might not be as happy with others (laughs).
“Edwin and his mom and dad have been coming here since he was in high school. We also have a lawyer who’s a pilot, and he flies into the airport, which is two miles from us, just to eat here sometimes.”