It’s Friday afternoon, and the week has dragged on far too long. Time to eat. Choices abound both on and off campus, but the food in the dorm cafeterias or pizza just sounds boring today. Today, something different sounds mouth-watering.
[pizza] Middle Eastern food fits the bill: it’s new, it’s different and, if you know where to go, it is mouth-watering. Four restaurants in the East Lansing area dedicate themselves to bringing the best Middle Eastern food to the table. Each place offers a little something different and is a healthy alternative to a greasy pizza. Most important of all to students on a budget, it’s cheap.

Sultan’s Restaurant
Sultan’s, located at 4790 S. Hagadorn, has a warm atmosphere at their Hannah Plaza location. With booth seating, takeout and catering, Sultan’s is perfect for a lot of occasions. Better yet, they offer a 15 percent student advantage.
Bassam Mahmoud has owned Sultan’s since 1995 and prides himself on making everything fresh and as authentic as possible.
“It is generally Mid-Eastern food, not Americanized at all,” he said.
Mahmoud has definitely found a market for his restaurant. Sultan’s won an award in 1998 for the best vegetarian food in the area. But, don’t worry, meat-eaters: chicken shawarma is a customer favorite, along with hummus. The average cost of a meal is $6-10.

Woody’s Oasis
Woody’s Oasis, with two area locations, offers casual dining and takeout. Its style is simple and straight-forward with a fast-food style ordering system. The Grand River location has a cozy interior and even offers outdoor seating in the back.
Manager Jimmy Raad has a personal stake in the food.
“My mom has been cooking here for twenty to thirty years, the food is pretty authentic,” he said.
A chicken and rice dish called hashwi and falafel sandwiches are the most popular dishes, said Raad. Prices average around $5 a plate. Woody’s has two area locations, 211 E. Grand River and 970 Trowbridge Rd, as well as a third location in Okemos at 2398 E. Jolly Rd.

New Aladdin’s
New Aladdin’s, 300 N.Clippert, is conveniently located in the Frandor shopping plaza, making it a short hop on the number 1 CATA bus line. New Aladdin’s is mainly a take-out place, but there are a few booths. The focus is Lebanese cuisine and everything is made from scratch. Tabbouli, kibbee and other customer favorites are cheap, ranging from $5 –9.

Sahara’s Middle-Eastern Restaurant
Sahara’s is farther from campus, just off of Jolly Road by the Okemos Road intersection, but sometimes, good things are worth the drive. The restaurant caters to the needs of both the student and the family with takeout, casual and fine dining, and catering. The booths are inviting, and the space is intimate. Favorite dishes are the chicken kabob, Moe’s chicken, and falafel.
Manager Jamil Jaber promises Sahara’s cuisine is definitely worth coming out to try. Prices range from $9-16.

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