The past couple of years have not been kind to the Food and Beverage industry, especially in Lebanon. Yet, within the streets of Beirut, one restaurant has managed, against all odds, to thrive. SALATA just celebrated its 2-year anniversary and the way Georges Bandar, the owner, tells the story of its conception, you’d think it was all just a fluke. There was no big opening, not even a soft one, no promotions on social media until well into their ninth month, Georges and his partner were even mistaken as daily customers of the original branch in Downtown. And here it is, opening up its second branch in Saifi, nestled neatly in the latest hub called “The Core” a concept that is explained very straightforwardly in its slogan: Sweat, Eat, Shop. SALATA offers the “Eat” part of this healthy-lifestyle trio. The place is small, but packs within it a plethora of flavors and the air of guilt-free eating; you’re immediately energized once you step into the brightly lit room.
If you get the chance to meet SALATA’s founder and CEO, Georges, you’ll quickly realize he is the walking, talking embodiment of his baby: he’s a well-kept, bright-eyed 30-something and he is fresh, fresher than most people around him, and very LA, even though he’s never stepped foot in the Californian city. His passion for healthy food and his happy-go-lucky attitude seem to be the driving force of SALATA’s success, as well as his hands-on approach; he and his sister came up with the simple yet memorable name, he designed the logo himself, along with a lot of the branding you’ll see at both branches, and he handpicks the people he features in his ads. And it’s because of this personal investment, passion, and nurture that he and his partner have put into SALATA that it continues to grow. In two years, the Instagram page @salata has amassed a whopping 37K followers. In two years, despite a plummeting economy, political unrest, and a harrowing explosion that devastated the entire country, SALATA was not only restored to its former glory in its Downtown branch, but now also conquers more of Beirut’s F&B scene within its small Saifi branch. All while maintaining the same clean and crisp quality it initially promised its customers.
And who are SALATA’s customers? According to Georges, it’s anyone on the hunt for a meal that won’t have them feeling the lethargy of a long workday, or one perfect for refueling after a tough workout. It’s the effortlessly cool people, the healthy people, the Beirutis who like exploring new places around their beloved city, the friends who want to chat for hours without their food getting hot or cold, just better and better. SALATA is meant for everyone and it is meant as an entire meal to dig into and feel like you did well by your body.
by Nour Abou Fayad