The Middle East:
Café Cedar at the Skillet
2 E. 2nd Street, Parkville, MO | At Home in the Northland

If you’re in the mood for more than just dinner, you’ve come to the right place. While Café Cedar at the Skillet may seem to be Middle Eastern food, it is also so much more. Where else could you dine on baba ghanouj and fried chicken, or check out belly dancers on Saturday nights and sing along with Eagle’s covers on Sunday nights? These conundrums are exactly what gives Café Cedar its charm.

At the helm of the operation are Chef Jehad Selah and his Mexican wife, Fabiola. This multiethnic couple typifies everything that’s great about Café Cedar. The mixing of cultures means that everyone is welcome and everyone is comfortable.

Selah offers two menus, a Middle Eastern and an American. The Middle Eastern menu features his native foods, specialties from Jordan, Lebanon and Greece. The American menu features fried chicken, catfish and steak. Selah says that since he cooks from his heart, he never wants anyone to feel that they can’t find something to eat.

“I knew that I wanted to do something with people, and cooking with love for people is the most rewarding thing that you can do. So if someone doesn’t want to try my Jordanian food, that’s okay. I will cook what they want with love,” says Selah.

This is not just a sentiment, it’s a way of life for Selah. The restaurant has the look and feel of a quirky uncle’s house, with a red car in the front and rooms full of dolls in the entryway. Once diners are in the main dining room, stained glass scenes of the desert and ethnic textiles take them to another place.

Selah says that he is thrilled at the restaurant’s placement, virtually right next door to Park University, known for their high concentration of foreign students. He says he hopes that his restaurant makes them feel at home, no matter where they are from.

For an entertainment packed evening, come down on a Saturday night when Melody Gabrielle, Dharma, and Troupe Duende are demonstrating traditional belly dance techniques. Sample a vegetarian appetizer platter with hummus, baba ghanouj, falafil, and spanokopita. And dip a spoon into lemony lentil soup that will remind you why you like eating Selah’s family’s food. It’s delicious. NL