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August 1, 2018
Habits

Levant Eatery is coming to Pirie Street

The Al-Sweedy family are expanding the reach of their Middle Eastern street food concept, Levant Eatery, to a second venue in the CBD's financial district.

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  • Pictures and words: Johnny von Einem

“Rent’s started, so we’re travelling really behind. But you know, it’s all part of it,” Husam Al-Sweedy says with a broad smile as he welcomes CityMag into Levant Eatery’s soon-to-be sequel.

Remarks

Levant Eatery Pirie Street will open Tuesday, 13 August and can be found at 70 Pirie Street.

After three years trading in the heart of the West End, Husam – who introduces himself to us as Sam – and his family are expanding east, opening up at the ground floor of 70 Pirie Street.

The new shop will be an exact transplant of the original concept-wise, with the fit out being “a newer, more modern version” of the original.

Levant’s Middle Eastern street food fare – freshly grilled meat, halloumi or falafel, stuffed with salad into white or whole-wheat pita pockets made fresh to order, and served with a pick of nine house-made sauces, all prepared under the watchful eye of Faten Al-Sweedy, Sam’s mum – is well established amongst the university students and professional crowd of the Hindley Street district; Sam also expects the offering to be a perfect fit for Pirie Street’s office worker clientele.

Husam Al-Sweedy. This image: Farrin Foster

“We’ve got quick service, we try and aim for our meals to be [out] in seven minutes, our price points are for office workers, you know? And it’s freshly grilled food,” he says.

“I think we are a bit different to what this street has offered previously, and what it’s got to offer now, you know? There’s just a lot of coffee shops here. I think the street needs it, and I’m hoping they’ll adapt to it.”

While Levant will bring a new lunch option to Pirie Street, Sam is also hoping for a change away from the seasonal nature of Adelaide’s education precinct.

“With the west side, it fluctuates quite a bit, so from semester to semester… Thinking how do we move away from that fluctuation, if we can get something a bit more steady, I felt like Pirie Street was the right spot,” Sam says.

“Even if we trade a bit slower and more consistent, I’m still happy with that. I’m just happy to open up another shop.”

New projects are an addiction for Sam, who launched Cheeseburger and Not Guilty Blends in close proximity to the original Levant (the latter of which has now closed), and a small section of this new frontage has been walled off and saved for a future concept, to be launched once the new shop is settled.

“It will definitely be a very fast food operation, whether it’s Not Guilty, or a toasty station, or soups in winter, or even just a pop-up where we constantly change it – we’re flexible,” he says.

Levant Eatery Pirie is set to open mid-August, opening from 7:30am until 3-3:30pm, and while it may not be the last Al-Sweedy project the CBD will see, it is enough to keep Sam occupied for the moment.

“The standard of where Adelaide’s small café businesses are, I think it’s at a premium level. A lot of cafes are doing well, and you’ll realise a lot of them do put their heart and soul into it. I think that’s what it requires for you to even be noticed – not even to be doing amazing, just to be noticed,” Sam laughs.

“I feel very lucky to even have something like this, you know? We came from a really poor background. We didn’t have much when we came to Australia. I came at a pretty young age as a refugee, so to have anything like this… whatever I get given I’m grateful for and I appreciate it with all my heart.

“I’d definitely like to keep expanding. I absolutely love what I do, so I’ll keep doing it.”

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