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Authentic cuisine served up at North Bay's only Lebanese restaurant

Kana Leaf in Supporting Local North Bay Business.

My biggest challenge when we first opened 12 years ago was that people didn’t know much about Lebanese food or even what a Shawarma is.

Twelve years ago this month Roger Gergi and his wife Yasmin opened the doors to North Bay’s only Lebanese restaurant.

Originally from Lebanon, Canada has been home to Gergi for over 35 years.

The couple took a gamble that the Cedar Tree Lebanese Restaurant would catch on.

“One of the big reasons we came here was because that was one of the things that were missing here in North Bay. There really wasn’t that much difference in food. We had Thai, we had Chinese and then we had your regular shops here. This being my culture from where I’m from. I’ve been in the restaurant business my whole life, so I figured we were going to give it a go and keep our fingers crossed,”Gergi explained.

“To be honest, I didn’t know it was going to be a hit. We were hoping for it. Lebanese food is very simple. People know it, people love it. We used to live in Ottawa, in Calgary, in Toronto and there are Lebanese shawarma shops everywhere.”

The ingredients aren’t exotic, in fact, they are likely to be found in the average home pantry.

“We use a lot of herbs nothing spicy, nothing hot, but a lot of different spices so oregano, thyme, basil, zaatar. We use a lot of that in our culture. They are ingredients that you have all seen and have had before; chicken and lettuce and tomatoes and garlic. It is just the way we put it together it is a little bit different,” Gergi explained.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t authentic Lebanese cuisine that first got some of the customers through the doors.

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