Emad Saad purchased the Boustan restaurant brand in 2017. At the time, only the original spot on downtown Crescent Street and three others existed. Seven years later there are now 66 locations and counting.
I sat down with Saad, Marketing Director Jad Akiki and Head Office Manager Kaylea Peres at the spanking new Lachine location in a strip mall on busy Victoria Street. Saad went behind the counter himself to prepare a pair of delicious mixed shawarma bowls for a friend of mine, containing perfectly shaved beef and chicken, with crispy garlic potatoes, rice and salad along with their garlic and special sauces. Saad also handed us what looked like chicken brochettes for us to try. They were quite tasty. Both of us were convinced they were chicken; in fact, they were vegan shiitake mushrooms. For sure that will be among my selections next visit
Not only has Saad taken Boustan to extraordinary levels in Quebec, but the brand is now present in New Brunswick, Ontario and the United States. The latter presently includes New Jersey, with Miami on the way. And coming up in April will be Boustan’s first franchise outside of North America, in Morocco.
Saad told me his goal is to reach 100 franchises by 2025; 250 in the next five years and 750 in a decade.
Thanks to Saad, and of course the original owners, Boustan has become a household name, renowned for its unparalleled Mediterranean cuisine. New openings in Lachine, Park Extension and Montreal North showcase a refreshed, contemporary look and an enhanced dining experience that encapsulates the spirit of modernity and authenticity. The Lachine spot is corporately owned and has already been dubbed as their new flagship.
The modern, sleek design aesthetic harmonizes with the authentic flavours, providing a dining experience that appeals to both loyal patrons and newcomers. There are 32 seats in Lachine, plus a seasonal terrasse and sliding doors. “This will be our new lab,” Saad said. “What you see now is just the beginning. More changes are coming. We have a big kitchen, perfect to work on new menu items.”
There is even a punching bag that looks like one of the meat hooks that Sylvester Stallone’s character trained in the Rocky movies.
The rebranding effort at Boustan encompasses a redesigned visual identity, an enhanced menu showcasing the most exquisite shawarma creations, and an overall revitalized customer experience.
“Our journey from 1986 to the present day has been filled with culinary excellence and cherished memories,” says Akiki. “With this rebranding, we encourage everyone to celebrate our rich heritage while immersing themselves in a new atmosphere that reflects a modern vibe.”
Boustan’s menu has always offered the heartwarming essence of homemade food, and tasty shawarma to a wider audience to a wider audience, crafting an unparalleled dining experience that’s both accessible and convenient without compromising on taste or nutritional value. Each dish is a labour of love, reflecting generations of traditional recipes passed down through time. From the sizzling shawarma to their aromatic falafel, epic garlic potatoes and their crunchy fattouche salad, every bite is a symphony of flavours, meticulously prepared with the freshest ingredients and authentic spices. Boustan’s commitment to excellence goes beyond taste, offering nutritious options that cater to diverse palates, ensuring that the joy of Mediterranean cuisine is not just an indulgence but a wholesome and fulfilling experience.
There is even a classic poutine, a kid’s menu and baklava for dessert.
“We invite one and all to join us in this new chapter, to savour our delicious offerings in a space that celebrates both tradition and modernity,” added Saad.
A new menu will be rolled out in the coming weeks.
Saad originally came on board as a potential franchisee. He had owned his own Subways franchise. “I was looking for a new challenge.”
The 46-year-old resident of Kirkland is married and the father of two young children. He came to Canada with his parents from Egypt when he was 15. For more information on Boustan, visit https://boustan.ca.