Daraya is Not My Name: It’s My Home Village
It’s the intoxicating scent of crisp falafel and juice-dripping chicken shawarma that beckons you through the door of the gray-slated Skippack farmhouse Daraya has made its home in the last two years. A swell of strings and voice (Andrea Bocelli, perhaps? Or is it traditional Lebanese, today?) ushers you to find your seat - either in the softly string-lit dining room or somewhere in the breeze of the wrap-around porch - but you take your time to watch the chef in his groove behind the glass partition that separates entranceway from kitchen.
Husband and wife Saïd and Mary Hassan picked the location for its unique, yet cozy feel, almost as if it’s your own family making the meal. The idea is to make every patron feel at home, given that home is the quaint little village of Daraya, Lebanon.
Born and raised in the village, and French-educated, Saïd has been behind the line since his arrival in the US nearly thirty years ago, having refined his skills at some of the finest gourmet restaurants in Center City, Philadelphia (where he learned how to make perfectly tender grilled calamari, one of Daraya’s most popular specials).
The menu is a fusion of simple, more traditional tastes of his mother’s home (think: blended beef/lamb shawarma, savory kafta, garden-fresh taboulie, homemade hummus) with a Mediterranean cosmopolitan palette, taking cues from Beirut’s status as the Paris of the Middle East (white or red Linguini and Clams, classic Chicken Marsala, or one of the many chef-created seafood specials).
His wife Mary, on the other hand, a Bucks County native, has mastered the craft of Lebanese dessert-making. Every treat from baklawa to Daraya’s famous chocolate orange cake are handmade to perfection; as well as her freshly squeezed lemonade, Daraya iced tea (with a splash of orange and a sprig of mint to taste), and in the summers, a traditional mint lemonade slushie (so refreshing!).
You’ll find the couple happily chatting with patrons, catering events big and small alike, or escorting customers from dinner to coffee and hookah in the adjacent barn. If you’re lucky, you may even get to meet one of their kids helping out as well!
Daraya Restaurant is open Tuesdays-Thursdays (4:30pm-9pm), Fridays-Saturdays (4:30pm-9:30pm), and Sundays (4:30pm-8:30pm). Come by and give us a, “Marhaba!”. And don’t forget to BYOB!