Each year, St. Anthony’s Festival in Nolita celebrates Italian culture, food and history. But outside Openhouse Gallery, a pop-up Lebanese restaurant is representing food from further east on the Mediterranean. Toum is open from 12:30 pm-11:00 pm outside 201 Mulberry between Spring and Kenmare. Running through Sunday, the pop-up restaurant serves traditional Lebanese dishes like hummus, baba ghanoush, kefta, falafel and kebobs. Toum also has a cadre of hookahs with mint, apple or grape tobacco and Arabic music to set the mood.
Toum (the word for a Lebanese garlic sauce) is run by Rodrigue and Christine Chebli and Tiodora Chammas. Unlike most of the stands at St. Anthony’s Festival, Toum comes equipped with tables and chairs. Enough space to enjoy the semi-nightly belly dancing that comes through, too. Toum’s recipes are homemade and go back to the 70s when Rodrigue Chebli’s father and uncle started up a restaurant in Bikfaya, Lebanon. He’s been in the business since he was 13 and runs a catering hall in New Jersey. Toum is the first in a series of pop ups the Cheblis will be organizing around the city.