Dominic Saadi built up a sizeable following for his Lebanese-inspired food over eight years at his former downtown Scranton eatery, City Cafe.
Now, the restaurateur serves his popular traditional and contemporary Mediterranean cuisine at horticultural hot spot Greystone Gardens, with a place appropriately named the New Cafe.
“I felt, why should Clarks Summit be deprived?” Saadi said with a smile.
The interior dining room features seating for about 50 among the cool, cream-colored walls lined with vines interlaced with twinkling lights, and it overlooks the center’s extensive gardens through big picture windows. As weather permits, a patio accommodates another 50 or so al fresco among tables shaded by large umbrellas. Year-round, guests enjoy spectacular views from inside and out.
With a selection of international ambient music playing in the background, the New Cafe offers a nice, quiet atmosphere.
The menu changes several times a year and incorporates some fresh herbs and ingredients from Greystone Gardens plants, but it always remains true to its Lebanese core.
Old favorites from City Cafe can be found among fresh dishes, such as the Mediterranean Tasting, which combines many of Saadi’s most popular small, shareable plates into a robust platter. Many items feature ingredients sourced from local farms and farmers’ markets, ensuring fresh fruits, nuts and legumes for the dishes, as well as organic chicken and lamb for meatier offerings. On a recent afternoon, Saadi laid out a vivid array of his best-sellers, including the Fig Flatbread, Roasted Beets, Hummus and bread.
For those unfamiliar or intimidated by the idea of sampling traditional Mediterranean plates, Saadi also offers comfort food classics among his wraps, burgers, sandwiches and dinners, such as pasta, steak, crab cakes, salmon and bronzino plus colorful salads. Standouts from the list include Eggplant Pomodoro Tagliatelle (made with plum tomatoes, olives, capers and pine nuts), Vegetarian Moroccan Stew (one of many meat- and gluten-free options) and various kabobs.
At the bar, Saadi serves up classic cocktails infused with house-made juices as well as selections from a premium wine list to complement meals. The New Cafe hosts a happy hour with reduced prices and complimentary hors d’oeuvres Wednesdays through Fridays from 5 to 7 p.m.
The New Cafe caters a variety of services for custom-designed private parties, from buffets to family-style and traditional served plates. It sees many gatherings in its garden for showers and other spring or summertime occasions, thanks to the reduction of noise pollution its location provides.
“People like this restaurant for its outside, and the truth is, there’s not a better setting in this area,” Saadi said. “What a great place to have a dinner.
“It’s the experience. That’s what’s encouraged. Servers are trained not to auction off food,” he added. “I look at a table for conversation with family and friends. Food is not a commodity (here), and neither are (customers). That hospitality is very Lebanese.”
The New Cafe
Address: At Greystone Gardens, 829 Old State Road, Clarks Summit
Established: January 2017
Manager: Dominic Saadi
Cuisine: Traditional and contemporary Mediterranean
Hours: Wednesdays through Saturdays, lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; dinner from 5 to 9 p.m.; Sundays, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Patrice Wilding is a 13-year employee of the Lifestyles Dept. at The Times-Tribune, where she worked her way up from a clerk to a web video producer to a full-time reporter, writer and copy editor. An Olyphant native, she graduated from Mid Valley Secondary Center and earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies with concentration in media arts, political science and communications from Wesley College, Dover, Delaware. She lives in Clarks Summit with her husband, Justin, and their son, Johnny. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5369; @pwildingTT