Nicholas Restaurant: The Story of Our First 30 Years of Business!

Nicholas Restaurant was established in June of 1985 by Nicholas and Linda Dibe, my mother and father.

Nicholas Searches for a New Life — Nicholas was a public relations officer for Air France for the 35 years preceding 1982. In that year, the tragic war in Beirut, Lebanon forced Nicholas to take a leave of absence to seek refuge and a better life for his wife and four children in the United States. Coming from the 'old country,' neither Nicholas nor Linda had the language or the experience to achieve financial survival. Linda had to take a full time job doing carpet alteration at Atiyeh Carpet Cleaning just to put food on the table at home. Since her small amount of pay was our family's only income, Nicholas decided to return to the tragedies in Beirut in order to provide more income for us. Two years passed. We missed our Dad and his holiday visits became tedious and they reminded us of how lonesome we were living apart. My parents had to find a solid source of income and a stable family living situation in the United States. After 37 years of dedicated service to Air France Airlines, Dad decided to take his retirement and use his pension to invest in the authenticity that is today the one and only Nicholas Restaurant.

Running a restaurant — an "undefined journey" — Driven by compliments they received from numerous acquaintances about their cooking Mom and Dad started a "mom and pop store" selling pizza and calzones to survive. They were complete amateurs in the restaurant business and they had their full pension tied to the future success of the restaurant. Hired help was a luxury, so when opening day came, Linda quit her job and joined her husband on this undefined journey. In what was once a run down tavern that had lain vacant for many years they started Nicholas Restaurant. The pizzas and calzones were good and Nicholas Restaurant developed a following. To introduce our already loyal customers to more traditional "home cooking" Lebanese cuisine was added to the menu. Word-of-mouth advertising then brought more folks hungry for flavors of the Middle East to Nicholas. It all contributed to the slow but steady success of my parents' dream. To bring out the traditional taste of authentic Lebanese cooking, our black oven was imported along with various other restaurant equipment from our home thousands of miles away over land and sea. For many years this wonderful oven has warmed up every day for baking and bread making. The equipment expenditure was great, but it was imperative for real Lebanese cooking.

We have been at our Grand location since 1987 providing delicious meals made with the freshest and best quality ingredients. Since then we have also purchased a location on 32th and Ne Broadway, and N. Main Street in Gresham. We insist on everything being made from scratch with no shortcuts. No canned garbanzos or canned eggplant for the baba. Only the freshest bread, baked from scratch. What you see coming out of our oven speaks for itself. Using high quality ingredients is very important to us. Not just for flavor - cooking right is part of our culture. We really love making good food. Others may allude to being part of the Nicholas Restaurant heritage. We assure you that, while we welcome the implied compliment, Nicholas Restaurant has never strayed from its original commitment to excellence at this one and only location. Since 1996 I have been trying my best to continue to build my parents' legacy. Their story shows that work is not a curse or a misfortune, as some people think, but rather, if it comes from the heart it is love made visible. With all the events currently happening around the world and in the Middle East along with whatever circumstance may be befalling us all, a family gathering at a table enjoying a fresh cooked meal is the highlight of the day. To us, whenever you eat at Nicholas Restaurant, you are enjoying the pleasure of family time and togetherness and are blessed with God's gifts and food.

We would like to extend our gratitude for the reviews we receive in local publications, on the news and on the Internet. And, of course, we thank each one of you who tells your friends and family where to get the best Lebanese food in town, right here at Nicholas Restaurant.

Thank you for reading our story. We look forward to serving you again and again...

Hilda Dibe


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