Four Inane Questions with Hummus & Pita restaurateur Dhiaa Eid

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If the lines out the door are any indication, Dhiaa Eid’s Mediterranean eatery, Hummus & Pita, is no longer a hidden gem.

The restaurant—which opened last spring—has seen its loyal/hungry customer base explode since the first of the year. (In fact, we made the mistake of popping over for some grub after the OP Farmers Market. Oops. But trust us, it was well worth the wait.)

Eid—who was born and raised in Jordan—tells us his casually cool restaurant serves up plenty of flavorful homemade Middle Eastern-esque grub. The reason why it’s so tasty? It’s because Eid started cooking alongside his dad when he was just 6 years old. “I grew up in our restaurant,” says Eid. “My dad always wanted me to be good at school and focus on my studies as well—so I would do both.”

Authenticity is the name of the game at Hummus & Pita with many of the sacred family recipes being passed down through the generations. “My dad was known as one of the best people making food in Jordan,” says Eid. “He thought I wouldn’t be able to make such good food, so everything is my dad and mom’s recipes.”

If you’re curious about the restaurant’s name, it’s an homage to Eid’s dad. “The reason I named the restaurant Hummus & Pita was to match the name of our restaurant back home,” says Eid. “My two brothers re-opened it after my dad passed away in 2016.”

Eid will celebrate his tenth anniversary in the States next year. “I’ve worked on my English every day to get better,” he says. “I want to show people how Mediterranean food should taste—and how good it is! That’s why people love us and love our food.” (People, if you don’t order Eid’s “real” baba ganoush—ladened with walnuts, onions, and pomegranate sauce—you haven’t really lived.)

We sat down with Eid for approximately thirty seconds before he opened up to pester him with our four inane questions. Mercifully, we slammed a couple of Turkish coffees beforehand or we couldn’t have kept up with him! 

The Pitch: Humans are supposed to get more than 7 hours of sleep a night. How much do you require? 

Dhiaa Eid: To be honest I always try to get at least seven hours of sleep every night—and if I do get that much, I’ll say I’m lucky. When you own a business you have some stuff to do while you’re working and even after you get off work. And most of the time you start thinking about what you need to do the next day right when you put your head on the pillow.

I’m a morning person so I usually get up early to pray and it’s hard for me to go back to sleep after that—so if I didn’t go to bed early, I’ll be struggling that day.

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Courtesy photo

Settle this age-old debate, which is better with pita bread—hummus or baba ganoush? 

Using the pita bread is the traditional Middle Eastern way to eat the food, especially the dips like hummus and baba ganoush. And we eat a lot of pita back home—and we have a lot of variety, so you can’t skip that.

Back home—when a storm is coming—the bakery will be packed because the first thing people try to get is pita. If you don’t have pita you can definitely eat the baba ganoush with a spoon, but I prefer hummus, especially with warm fresh pita.

You work alongside your beloved mom, yes? What’s her favorite—uh, or least favorite—thing about being in the kitchen with you? Dish!

My mom is my adopted mother here in the United States. I’m the first generation from my family to be in the United States, so I don’t have any family in the U.S. 

Mama adopted me and brought me into her family, so I call her Mama as a sign of respect and love. She was also a big supporter of mine when I opened the restaurant and helped out a lot when we didn’t have enough help at that time. 

Her favorite thing about being in the kitchen with me? It’s that we work as a team and communicate like no one else. At the end of the day, I will always try to make sure that she’s happy. Our favorite dish is lamb and kofta kabob. We love everything she cooks—and crave it every day!

When it comes to desserts, how much frosting is too much frosting, in your honest opinion? 

Personally, I’m not a huge frosting fan. I think a little goes a long way. And when I’m eating dessert, it must include either pistachio or coconut.

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