Bitar’s brings on the brunch

Bitar’s has bolstered its clout as a connoisseur of Lebanese food through new brunch offerings.

On its menu Bitar’s, 947 Federal St., pledges to please everyone who is “…interested in the wonderful flavors of the Middle East.” The family-run Passyunk Square spot has been doing just that since 1974. On March 20, owner Amin Bitar expanded those wonderful flavors to include weekend brunch. The 10 new brunch options are a pleasant complement to the site’s Lebanese staples. 

“This was a big decision that I’m proud that we made,” Amin said of the move that opens the restaurant on Sundays for the first time. “It’s our hope that people explore these selections with as much enthusiasm as we did in choosing them and that everyone uses them to further what I think should be a collective goal, and that’s to become healthier.”

Amin’s parents established the business 47 years ago. The site has won regard for its can’t-miss falafel. It was also one of the city’s first pita bakeries. Since Mediterranean fare has been giving gastronomes’ bellies all the feels lately, Amin looked to set Bitar’s apart by having the brunch menu abound in items that would not be typical finds at similar destinations. The 58-year old looked back to his youth for ideas.

Kunafa on a sesame bagel. Photo provided by Bitar’s.

“It’s not a secret that people have been wanting to promote Middle Eastern food,” Bitar said. “There are so many possibilities out there, so for me, it made sense to look at both what’s popular today and what has been kicking around my brain from my time as a kid.” Amin and his brother Jude are enjoying preparing the new offerings.

Enjoy brunch via take-out, delivery, or in-person dining from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each weekend.

Current brunch highlights include:

  1. A Wrapped Breakfast Cheese PitaAckawi cheese and sumac spice 
  2. Egg with Ful Mudammas—fava beans, a soft-boiled egg, and pita bread
  3. Ejjeh Sandwichscrambled falafel eggs, French fries, garlic yogurt sauce, tomatoes, and a pita
  4. Fattah Breakfast Bowlchickpeas, pine nuts, slivered almonds, spices, a toasted pita, and yogurt
  5. Fried Egg on Zaatar Bread 
  6. Gyro Ejjeh Sandwich—scrambled eggs, falafel, lamb, beef, French fries, tomatoes, and a garlic yogurt sauce wrapped in a pita
  7. Kunafa on a Sesame Bagelorange blossom syrup, semolina, and sweet cheese
  8. Lebanese Parsley Omeletscrambled eggs, salt, pepper, and parsley
  9. Soojuk Omeletscrambled eggs, salt, pepper, and seasoned ground beef
  10. Sweet Labni—honey, homemade yogurt, and a warm pita

“I would say that, on average, someone can expect to pay around $10 to enjoy these,” Bitar said of the weekend brainchild that includes free Turkish coffee. “It’s not a foreign experience anymore to have knowledge of the foods that my people and other Middle Eastern cultures love, so this is our way of expanding that understanding.”

Egg with Ful Mudammas. Photo provided by Bitar’s.

While the new creations are the centerpieces on Saturdays and Sundays, the menu’s mainstays, including its award-winning pizza, are also competing for diners’ attention. Bitar knows there is plenty of room for them to co-exist and noted that the brunch options might soon become part of the standard menu. 

“You have to differentiate yourself,” he said of the blueprint for attracting customers. “[Brunch service] has been a good way, so far, for us to stand out.”

Fattah Breakfast Bowl. Photo provided by Bitar’s.