Laval gains a shiny spot for pita sandwiches and more this week, as new restaurant OverRice opens on Curé-Labelle.
The casual eatery comes from two best friends, Hussein Karaki (owner) and Ghassan Safi (operator), who are drawing on the offerings at New York’s gyro and shawarma carts.
“Most of the cab drivers were Muslim — they couldn’t always eat everything that was available because it wasn’t halal…so other Muslim immigrants created food carts in Manhattan under the whole concept of ‘for us, by us’, then eventually it became for everybody,” explains Shabbir Chowdhury, representing the restaurant.
(One of those carts, the Halal Guys, eventually made it big and expanded internationally, with two Montreal locations, but that chain left the city a couple of months back.)
OverRice will focus on rotisserie meats, served either in pita sandwiches or on platters with rice and salad. They’re keeping it simple, sticking to beef and lamb as well as a chicken option, all, alongside falafel as the main vegetarian offering; the restaurant is describing itself as serving gyro, the Greek version of the dish, rather than shawarma or donair. Those with, uh, large appetites might also consider the restaurant’s exceedingly large “Kong Bowl”, an extremely plus-sized dish of the restaurant’s various offerings — anyone who eats it in 40 minutes will be enshrined on the restaurant’s wall of fame for that particular feat of stomach-stretching.
The restaurant also gets playful with sauces, offering the classic garlicky option, but also some less traditional choices such as a smoky barbecue sauce, a curry sauce, and a dill dressing.
The design also evokes the New York source material — Karaki and Safi enlisted Atelier Lovasi (see also: La Champagnerie, Hvor) to craft the space, which seats around 30. A yellow and black colour scheme references New York City cabs, in a bright fast-casual space with custom lamps, tables and chairs, and a mural wall — take a look.
While it’s out in Laval, it seems OverRice is plotting an early expansion, eyeing off spaces on the island of Montreal — stand by for more news on that front.
STATUS — OverRice is open at 2159 Curé-Labelle in Laval from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.
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