When someone uproots his entire life to move to Madison on a whim because he knows our community is missing good Middle Eastern food, you know that the food is going to be good.
This is exactly what Tarek Mosed has done to bring Al Shish Palace to Madison, Alabama. Mosed’s restaurant features some of the best food I have ever had in my life (and he’s not paying me a dime to say that!), so I am genuinely giddy to tell you about this place.
Al Shish Palace in Madison, Alabama
Al Shish Palace, which stands for Alabama Shishkabob Palace, quietly opened last week and has already generated customers who have visited three or more times (I talked with two of them!). It’s located on Hughes Road about a half-mile south of HWY 72.
Store owner Mosed says that the food is along the lines of Spanish (Spain), Greek, Italian, and Lebanese. Al Shish Palace’s menu is vast and features seafood, lamb, chicken, beef, salads, soups, pitas, desserts, and much more. Also, a good chunk of the menu is suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
Catering options and family-style trays are available for order as well (Tarek says that he already has a wedding booked for November!)
Middle Eastern Food in Madison, Alabama
During my visit, the first bite I tried was the almond rice mixed with a bit of garlic paste (Mosed’s suggestion which is now my suggestion). Don’t miss ordering a bit of the garlic paste to enjoy with your entree.
Next, I sampled a bit of Falafel, Tabbouli, Fattoosh, Chicken Ghalaba, sauteed vegetables, as well as some fresh bread dipped in hummus and garlic paste.
If it sounds like I made a pig of myself, I did.
The restaurant features a striking brick oven custom-made in Dearborn, Michigan just for Al Shish Palace. The aroma of fresh bread will fill the restaurant as they are constantly making more to include with each order.
Mosed says that everything is made-to-order and could not be fresher. He joked that this isn’t the type of restaurant where a customer can call to place an order and pick it up a few short minutes later.
“We will begin making everything as soon as the order is placed. What we serve will always be fresh and hot.”
Mosed knows a thing or two about fresh Middle Eastern food after enjoying it his entire life in Michigan. When I asked him what brought him here to Madison, he chuckled.
“I’ve never worked at a restaurant a day in my life,” shared Mosed.
He shared that he previously worked in the car industry in Michigan and came down to visit his sister back in March when he “got bored with COVID.”
Mosed is very close with his sister and her family and says that he would visit this area every break that he could. He realized during his springtime visit though that if he wanted authentic Middle Eastern food, he would have to travel to Nashville or Birmingham.
When he returned to Michigan, he had a conversation with close friend Khaled Musleh. Musleh, an accomplished chef with at least three Middle Eastern food restaurants in Michigan, expressed interest in opening another restaurant in that area since his current ones are doing so well.
“I told him that I knew of a place that didn’t have anything like that. I told him that he needs to open one up with me in Madison, Alabama. And so we did it.”
Musleh created the menu based around the most popular menu items from his Michigan restaurants and hopes our community loves what he makes.
“The market was open here for something like this, and we’re really hoping that this is just the first of several Al Shish Palaces,” shared Mosed.
Mosed laughed when he shared that people in our area have been more excited about his restaurant than he has been.
“A lot of people in this area have visited, worked in, or lived in the Middle East, so they’re really excited about this food.”
Al Shish Palace is currently testing out the hours of 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. seven days a week. They offer dine-in service with tables that are spaced apart to offer social distancing. A small handful of outdoor tables are also available. Please note that they are currently not selling alcohol.
They are signed up with Grub South and GrubHub and will hopefully have those services available for delivery. For now, Mosed encourages those who are interested in carry-out orders to call ahead after viewing the online menu.
Al Shish Palace’s website and menu can be found here. They are also on Facebook and Instagram.