I went to check out yesterday this Junkyard/Pop-up restaurant my friend told me about. I was told it’s on Mar Mikhail’s street some 100 meters after Chez Sophie’s restaurant to the right but I could not find it at first. I called him to ask for more directions and as it appears, I had passed right next to it twice and didn’t notice the place.
Parking lot that gets you to the Junkyard
Looking at the second picture, you would never think there’s a hangout place behind those small trees and around those old buildings but the truth is this open air restaurant/bar is the coolest thing I’ve seen yet in Lebanon. It has no name, a unique design with tables/chairs/bars/toilets made out of junks down to the smallest detail, a container as a kitchen and chill-out music.
Path to the Toilets
Added to that, the place is surrounded by old residential buildings with some balconies directly overlooking it. I noticed many were sitting on their balconies drinking coffee or smoking arguile not bothered one single bit by this sort of pop-up restaurant and pub. It felt like it brought life to the whole neighborhood.
The kitchen is run by Thomas Reger, the executive chef at Le Sushi Bar and The Jasmine Room. To add to the place’s originality, there’s no set menu but daily dishes picked up by the chef. I had 3 appetizers, couscous with tomato, fresh tuna with peppers, Halloum with watermelon and all were good and refreshing dishes.
The man behind all that is Mario Haddad, who’s always investing in new and innovative ideas in Lebanon, seeking more self-satisfaction rather than just profits. You can read more about him in this article by LorientLeJour [Link].
Now the sad part is that the Junkyard will only open for 2-3 months and then close down before winter as it is not a viable nor sustainable project on the long-run. Nevertheless, if the idea were to work, I am sure the concept could be implemented in various locations on a yearly basis. After the Junkyard is closed, a group of restaurants also managed by Mario will be set up on site as of next year, offering a unique experience to the Lebanese. I will unveil more details about them in future posts.
In order to get to the Junkyard, go to Mar Mikhail’s street (As if you are heading to Burj Hammoud), turn right 100 meters after Chez Sophie restaurant right before the gas station (facing the bus cemetery), and then right again 20 meters into the corner.