Bella January & Fuad Khayyat @ Fuad Khayyat’s Vine Valley
interview by Krissy O’Connor
FOH: Bella January, Kitchen Slave and Customer Service Marvel
Town: West Akron
Vine Valley does mostly a carry-out and catering business, right? Are you more of a jack-of-all-trades and help out in the store and the kitchen? What ‘chore/job’ do you like doing best?
Vine Valley is definitely a catering and carry-out business, no party is too big or too small. Teamwork is key. Everyone works together to make sure orders are taken care of at the same time the storefront is running smoothly with carry-out customers. My favorite job is making the Fatayer, which are spinach and meat pies. There is nothing better than fresh spinach pies out of the oven!
Binge watching T.V. seems to be a new pastime these days, I know I am a participant. Are you, and if so, what is your latest binging pleasure?
I am not into watching any current TV series, but Netflix is a close friend. I just finished watching Big Little Lies on HBO. It was super suspenseful. I would highly recommend it!
What is your favorite summertime activity to do in Akron when you are not making spinach pies and selling pita?
Akron is so fun in the summer, it is hard to pinpoint one thing. I love taking my dogs on the trails to hike. The Farmer’s Markets are always a great time too.
What is your favorite Vine Valley meal to order?
All of the food is incredible. If I had to pick one meal it would have to be the Kibbeh. It’s the absolute best, especially paired with the hummus and tabbouleh. I’m getting hungry talking about it!
BOH: Fuad Khayyat, Owner, Chef, and Chief Bottle Washer
Town: West Akron
How did Vine Valley come about? What was your inspiration for starting Vine Valley?
My lifelong passion with Mediterranean food prompted me to buy Vine Valley with the intention to share with Akron this healthy, flavorful cuisine.
What would you choose for your last dinner if you knew the world was ending tomorrow?
When it comes to food, the spicier the better. If the world was ending tomorrow, I would want my last meal to be the hottest and spiciest Jerk Chicken around.
I would bet that summer is a busy time for Vine Valley’s Catering, but you must have some days off, right? What do you love about Akron in the summer?
Akron has an awesome outdoor music scene with great variety which I enjoy.
As a person who is not familiar with Lebanese/Mediterranean cuisine, if I were to ask for a typical Vine Valley take-out order, what would you suggest?
You have to cover all the basics. Kibbeh, tabbouleh, hummus, grape leaves and a bag of pita. It’s the tastiest combination for any occasion.