Why Bennies

Creating great food from Lebanon to New Jersey!

aboutbgFrom a small, peaceful village in the mountains of Lebanon just outside of Beirut to the pulsating New York City streets, Bennies Restaurant has created a haven of healthy, pure, genuine home cooking for all of those that have been fortunate enough to experience it. As all of its loyal customers can attest, it is an addiction, but one that is truly beneficial to your health, a modern day fountain of youth. Bennies is not just food, it is an experience, and its history lies within the one family that holds it all together.

The story begins in a village in Lebanon where Bennie’s family originates. Every day, Bennie and his father would gather fresh fruits and vegetables from their garden and buy fresh meats from the local town. At night, all of their family and friends would gather around in the middle of the village, when Bennies and his father would serve them the food that they had cooked for that day. This was not done for any special occasion. It is the natural, benevolent way of life that they are accustomed to, an experience that they wish to bring to all of the people that they serve today.

When the war began in Lebanon in the early seventies, Bennies parents moved to America to establish a business for themselves and their children so that they may find better opportunities in the states. In 1969, Bennies parents opened their first restaurant on 75th and Amsterdam Avenue. They traveled back and forth from Lebanon visiting their children, encouraging them to move to America, especially Bennie, who was the most talented chef in the family. Finally, in 1985, Bennie, his wife Fadia and three children moved to Manhattan. Over the next few years, along with the help of Bennies four brothers, they established an empire of restaurants that ranged from the upper west side to Chelsea. The word on Bennie’s food spread fast throughout the city. Zagat, The New York Times, and Time Out New York all raved about the new Bennies craze in Manhattan. Its customers were as dedicated to the food as Bennie himself. From the mid eighties to the late nineties, Bennies flourished from one family owned take out store to eight very busy, very popular restaurants. The food could not be matched, and anyone that went there couldn’t stop at just once. It was an addiction so strong, that people placed a tab for the entire month. However, Bennies was not there to stay indefinitely.

As Bennies four brothers successively left the restaurants in the city to pursue careers of their own, the business was left solely to Bennie. Due to rising rent rates and his dedication to raise his three beautiful children, Bennie and his wife decided to minimize their business and move to the suburbs in New Jersey. Countless people were left devastated and heartbroken that their beloved Bennies had closed down. Hundreds of letters were sent to the restaurants, begging that they reopen, trying to make a connection with the only place where they received both the highest quality foods and the most gracious, at-home treatment. Bennie opened Bennie’s Restaurant in Englewood, New Jersey. To everyone that has dined there, it is an unforgettable experience that caters to all the senses. The music is mystical, the design is ancient, colorful, unique, just like the recipes themselves, and the smell of fresh cooking vegetables and homemade desserts that exude from the store is heavenly. Still, those that visit the restaurant that knew the Bennies Empire from Manhattan beg for them to return to the city. This is a dream that Bennie hopes to one day achieve.