Thunder Bay

Lebanese family plans closure of Kabab Village restaurant after 10 years in business

After nearly 10 years in business, the Hatoum family has decided to close their Lebanese restaurant, Kabab Village, located on Syndicate Avenue in Thunder Bay, Ont.

The restaurant will close on April 15, 2018

Kabab Village, in Thunder Bay, Ont. will continue to serve up classic Lebanese and Mediterranean dishes such as falafel, fattouch salad, shawarma and hummus until mid-April. (Amy Hadley/CBC)

When the Kabab Village restaurant opened in 2009, the Hatoum family brought a new taste to the restaurant scene in Thunder Bay, Ont.

Serving home cooked Lebanese food, the restaurant quickly won over diners as the family continued to get to know the community while gaining some loyal customers.

"My mom loves cooking and homemade food and she wanted to give everyone a little taste of our food back home," Haidar Hatoum said.

However, after nearly a decade in the business, Kabab Village has announced it's closing its doors on April 15, 2018.

"Everyone has been really sad," Haidar Hatoum said.

"It was a little out of no where but I think it will be the right decision."

With his parents already in their new home in Windsor, Hatoum said he has been running the restaurant business on his own for the past year.

"My parents moved down to Windsor about a year ago," Hatoum continued, "that's where most of our family resides like on my mom's side ... [and] really we're just trying to be closer to everyone in the family, so that's mainly the reason for the move."

Making a home in northwestern Ontario

When the Hatoum family first came to Canada from Lebanon, they arrived in Windsor as their first destination. However, due to job opportunities and other factors, Hatoum said the family eventually ended up in Thunder Bay where they opened their first business in a new country.

"It was a bit tough at first, I think, especially when you are opening up a new place," Hatoum said, "and we were new to the restaurant business."

Back in Lebanon, Hatoum said his dad was a doctor before moving to Canada "to raise [them] in a safer place."

"When we first came [to Thunder Bay] we were one of the first families here ... there were some Lebanese families that were already here but they were here from like 30, 40 years back," Hatoum said.

Today, the Hatoum family has helped many of their extended family members also make Canada their home, including their relatives — the Toubaji family who own Damascus Donair.

With just a few more weeks until Kabab Village closes their doors for good on April 15, Hatoum said he'll be taking a month off before him and his family start looking for another restaurant to open in Windsor.