The ownership is changing, but the fresh entrees, salads and sandwiches will remain the same at M & M Cafe, featuring Mediterranean and American foods, at 13714 Michigan Avenue, Dearborn.
The lunch and dinner restaurant, across the street from the City Hall Artspace Lofts, and next to the Arab American National Museum, will be run jointly through August with the original owners, husband and wife team Maurice and Elaine Lteif, as they teach new owner Bahaa Kaddoura their operation and menu.
Maurice Lteif isn’t sure what his future plans hold.
“Most likely we will miss it, but there are a lot of things to do,” he said.
Kaddoura, who said he has been in the restaurant business for 13 years, met the Lteifs a month ago through a mutual friend. He has worked as an operations manager for other restaurants, but this is the first restaurant that will be his own.
“I love cooking, I love service, I love communicating with people,” Kaddoura said. “I love the overall restaurant business.”
Kaddoura said he has been working in the restaurant business since he graduated from Arts, Sciences and Technology University in Beirut, Lebanon. He lived in Dubai for 10 years before immigrating to the United State three years ago.
He said he is going to keep the restaurant’s concept intact, retaining about 80 percent of the menu and serving lunch and dinner.
“I am going to add a couple of new items,” Kaddoura said. “We will served the same dishes, with fresh food, with a nice presentation, fresh ingredients and good service.”
Kaddoura is married, with a daughter, 3, and a son expected to be born any day.
He said owning his own restaurant is a dream come true for him, and he hopes to attract the artists in the City Hall Artspace Lofts and others along the rebounding East Michigan Avenue corridor.
Lteif said Kaddoura will continue his philosophy.
“If we would not eat it ourselves, we would not serve it to you,” Lteif said. “If I make something and I feel I cannot eat it, it will not go to your table. No gimmick, no food coloring, no canned food.”
Lteif has the only ingredient that they use from a can is ketchup and tomato paste.
“It’s going to be fresh, made almost to order,” he said. “We are not going to make stuff that is going to be in the fridge for two weeks. Soup we make every other day, salad is made every day, hummus is made every other day or as needed. Our restaurant was successful because we went fresh all the way.”
Lteif said he had a good operation, with no waste or theft, so they were able to keep the prices reasonable, as low as possible while still making a profit.
What’s in a Name?
M & M Cafe was named for Maurice Lteif and his original partner, Mohammad, whom he bought out after two years, but he and his wife Elaine kept the same cafe name.
“In any business, family can be your biggest reason for success,” he said. “We’ve been doing it for 35 years, and we have been married for 40-some years.”
Norma Faraj, who has been a waitress at M & M Cafe for 28 years, said the fresh food is the key to the restaurant’s success.
“I would come out all the time to eat here because of the way they serve things, too,” Faraj said.
Amy Faunce, a waitress with M & M Cafe for 11 years, said the owners would never serve any food that they would not eat. She said the turkey burger is her favorite.
Faraj said she couldn’t pick just one favorite.
“Everything, really,” she said. “Everything for me.”
By Sue Suchyta For The Press & Guide