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Our Story


The Beginning

BAALBAKÉ was founded in Jounieh, Lebanon by Fadel Barakat in 2017. The concept for the eatery stemmed from an opportunity that other restaurants didn't recognize. For years, every trip that Fadel took to his family’s village meant numerous requests from friends and neighbors for Sfiha Baalbakiyeh, a unique meat pie from the Baalbek region where his family hails. The pie is at once a delicacy, a finger food, and a street food. Lebanese love Sfiha Baalbakyeh but as a regional specialty of a remote part of the county, enjoying it meant a long trip from the western coast of Lebanon where most people live, over the mountain range, and across the valley to Baalbek. For decades, people would ask taxi drivers traveling there in the morning to buy Sfiha for them and eagerly waited for the driver to return in the evening… even if it meant that the pies sat in a hot car for hours before they got them. And yet no one thought to make fresh, authentic Sfiha Baalbakiyeh on the western coast of the country where most Lebanese lived.

Fadel saw the opportunity to build a business around authentic Sfiha Baalbakiyeh. He put all of his savings together, established an eatery near Beirut, and called it BAALBAKÉ - meaning someone from the region of Baalbek. Amusingly, the name also has the English word “bake” built into it and baking is at the core of the business. Working from tedious, age old family recipes and techniques, Fadel’s expertise in dough and meats allowed him to streamline the process of making Sfiha and create a well-rounded menu of traditional and innovative foods. His efficient system for food preparation and insistence on quality ingredients resulted in deliciously satisfying foods that customers truly enjoyed. That led to quick success in the market and in a few short months, BAALBAKÉ became a destination spot for people from all over the coast of Lebanon.

With western publications like the New York Times, Forbes, Conde Nast, and others designating Beirut as a major hot spot for gastronomy and food travel, it wasn’t long before word of BAALBAKÉ’s superior foods spread far and wide. Well-respected local and international food bloggers loved the eatery and praised its food, consistency, cleanliness, and excellent service. Customers came in droves, often directly from the airport. To meet demand, BAALBAKÉ expanded to more locations in Beirut, keeping branding, service, and processes in control. When Fadel was selected to represent Lebanon in some of the largest international food festivals with BAALBAKÉ’s Sfiha, restaurateurs from around the world were impressed and began asking for franchise rights. The focus from this point is on continued growth so that we can share our much-loved food with the world.

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