Q&A with Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, Owner of Gyro on Lake City
A Little Taste of Egypt in Lake City
Enjoy Lake City (ELC) recently visited Mohamed Abdel-Aziz at his Lake City Way restaurant to talk about delicious Mediterranean food, growing up in Egypt and life in Lake City. The restaurant recently moved a few doors down from its old location and now has a bigger seating area and a larger kitchen. And don’t miss our Mystery Diner’s “Rapid Restaurant Review” following the interview!
ELC: How long have you been in the restaurant business?
It’s been 25 years since I came to the States from Egypt.
ELC: How did you decide to start your own restaurant?
That was the job I found months after I came to the States, first as a cook, then a lead cook, then a manager. But I found myself going nowhere and I just wanted to have my own thing and not have a boss anymore; to be my own boss.
ELC: Did you learn to cook when you came to the States or in Egypt?
I knew a little bit from back home in Egypt, but when I came here I learned from the different restaurants I worked in. Red Robin, Salty’s , Applebee’s. I managed Applebee’s so I learned everything about the business at Applebee’s and I trained everyone else. Meetings with the cooks about the new commercials, how to cook the new items, everything.
ELC: Why did you choose to have your restaurant in Lake City?
I used to live in Covington, but Lake City sounded good to me and I thought that it might be a busier area than Covington.
ELC: What are some of the most popular items on your menu?
Gyros, chicken shish kabobs, lamb kabobs, falafel, Egyptian kafta kabobs.
ELC: What’s your personal favorite dish on the menu?
The gyro and the kafta kabob. The kafta kabob is ground beef, garlic, cilantro, onion, parsley, salt, pepper and some other spices.
ELC: What are your favorite places in Lake City?
I shop from Fred Meyer and Goode’s. I get my spices from Goode’s Market.
ELC: What do you like best about Lake City?
Everything is convenient. Anything you want, you can find is here. It’s not far to drive around, everything is here, stores, parks.
ELC: What do you think are some of the challenges facing Lake City?
Homeless people on the streets; just hanging out here. It’s sad to see a lot of homeless. I am sure there is some way to get homeless off the street and into housing.
ELC: What opportunities do you think are coming up for Lake City?
I think to help us out, the City could help advertise local businesses. That would definitely help. And if it’s good for businesses, it’s good for the city.
ELC: What would people be surprised to know about you?
I’m just a normal guy trying to make a living. But they may not know I’m Egyptian. I’m from Alexandria on the Mediterranean Sea. I came to the states in 1992. Alexandria is a very beautiful city. Ancient Alexandria from the days of Alexander the Great. They call it the bride of the Mediterranean Sea. Ancient Alexandria had a very famous library, and there are very beautiful beaches. Anywhere you go, you can walk miles and you don’t get tired, very nice weather. You sleep and you don’t feel tired when you wake up because the air from the sea shore is healthy and clean.
ELC: How did you decide to come to the States?
Economy wise, it was not that good back home so I decided to get out of the country and seek my opportunities. I went to Germany first for two and a half years, then to the States.
GROUND BEEF, GARLIC, TZAZIKI SAUCE AND SPICES MAKE A GREAT TASTING EGYPTIAN KAFTA KABOB.
ELC: What do you like to do outside of work?
I like to be with the family. Sometimes I cook for the family, but most of the time, they cook for me.
ELC: Is there anything else that you want us to know?
It’s very authentic food, no chemicals, guaranteed! It’s a very inviting restaurant. I like talking with all the people.
Our Mystery Diner’s Rapid Restaurant Review of Gyro on Lake City:
“Quaint, welcoming, very friendly owner, food is tantalizing, authentic and freshly made. Very reasonable prices. Absolutely recommend!”
Gyro on Lake City, 12340 Lake City Way, Seattle WA 98125
Open Mon-Sat 11-9; Sun 12-7
Or order on-line for delivery or pick up through Grubhub.com and eat24hour.com