The Garden A Mediterranean Restaurant Opening March 1 In Scranton

February 9, 2019 GMT

SCRANTON —The Garden A Mediterranean Restaurant recently closed in West Pittston and will reopen in downtown Scranton on March 1. For co-owners Jo Marie Yamin Ali and her husband, Akram Ali, and their manager, Nancy Yamin, who is Jo Marie’s sister, the relocation of their eatery to 116 N. Washington Ave. represents a homecoming. Yamin Ali operated food carts in downtown Scranton for several years, before making the jump into a brick-and-mortar spot in West Pittston three years ago. The trio, all residents of West Scranton, are busy converting the restaurant space at 116 N. Washington Ave. into their establishment. The site most recently housed the former Belmont Cafe, and before that, City Cafe. “We’re really, really excited,” Yamin Ali said. “We wanted to come home.” They see downtown Scranton on an upswing and look forward to joining its wide variety of culinary options. “We just wanted to be in Scranton, in downtown Scranton,” Yamin Ali continued. “And this location — it’s a beautiful restaurant. It’s a good location.” “I think the restaurant scene in downtown Scranton has gotten very exciting. It’s a nice time to be downtown,” Nancy Yamin said. “We’re happy to be home.” Together, they bring many years of experience in home cooking, catering, pastry shops, specialty butchering and food trucks. Yamin Ali recalled being a downtown Scranton food truck pioneer a dozen years ago, setting up at night along Courthouse Square to serve transient patrons of nearby bars. During this time, she became colloquially known to her customers as “the cheesesteak lady.” Another food truck favorite was her chicken-over-rice dish, she said. The Garden menu will feature those offerings in a “food truck frenzy” category, as well as traditional Mediterranean generational recipes, made fresh on site from top-grade organic ingredients. The menu also includes Lebanese flatbreads, hummus, baklava, pita, kibbeh, falafel and tabbouleh, to name a few items. Their olive oil is imported from Akram Ali’s family orchard in the Holy Land. “We cook for you like we are cooking for our family,” the Garden’s website says. Contact the writer: jlockwood@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9100 x5185; @jlockwoodTT on Twitter