Author: Austin Lozinski, BSU student
Lawadessa is a Middle Eastern restaurant located in West Bridgewater MA. I had the pleasure of talking to Zeina who owns the store along with her husband Tony. They moved to the US from Latakia, Syria in December of 2012. After having difficulty finding a job they decided to do something they know and turn Tony’s love of cooking into their business. Two years after coming to the US, in December of 2014 they opened the restaurant Lawadessa in West Bridgewater. Latakia has gone through some name changes to get to its current name, with one of its prior names being Laodicea, for which the restaurant is named after.
With no prior knowledge or experience of running a business or the systems of doing such in the US, they had to learn as they went. It took them a year to understand how everything worked and what was necessary or unnecessary. With Zeina’s management background and Tony’s mastery in the kitchen, they were an amazing team and off to start strong.
If Zeina had to do it over from day one, she would have worked for someone else first to learn how to do things. Unfortunately, this was not an option for them when they started. Most places said that they were overqualified, and no one would give them a job. Now, having been through hard times themselves and knowing the difficulties of no one giving you a chance, they always try to offer a hand to those who need it.
What truly makes them stand out from their competitors is their love for their food, their job, employees, and customers. The hardest part of the pandemic so far was the stress of not knowing what would happen if they were forced to close. Not only are they concerned with what would happen to them, but also their employees. They cannot accept their employees not being paid.
For those who are trying their restaurant for the first time especially if it is your first time trying Middle Eastern food, Zeina recommends you try her favorite, the shawarma plate so you can try both the chicken and beef shawarma, to see which you like best. It is a long process to make them, so they are very proud of it.
The best way they bring in customers is through their high online ratings; specifically from the Hockomock Swamp Supper Club and Desserts Emporium on Facebook, where they are constantly highly recommended out of local restaurants in the entire region of Southeastern Massachusetts. Facebook has helped a lot too. Every time they post a picture to highlight a particular food on their menu people come in the day of to try it out.
With great support from the community, they have been able change and grow. They work from their heart and cook because they love to share their culture with the community. Their menu has great options for everyone, they have healthy food and vegetarian and vegan meals. Their current goals are expanding to another town and getting some of their products into the supermarket. Lawadessa is an amazing restaurant with great food run by kind and incredible people. If you’re ever in the area, make sure to stop by and try some of their mouthwatering food.