Lebanese culture has been part of the fabric of Oklahoma since immigrants from southeastern Lebanon came here at the birth of statehood.
Lebanese steak houses used to be more common than Sonic drive-ins. Unfortunately, restaurants serving steak with hummus, tabouli, cabbage rolls, pita bread, smoked bologna and a pork rib are almost all gone.
Jamil’s Steakhouse on Lincoln Boulevard certainly is not gone, but it is oft-forgotten. That’s the price you pay for staying in business more than 30 years in a location that’s not on a main traffic artery.
"Lincoln Boulevard used to be like the Las Vegas strip,” owner Greg Gawey said. "Back in the ’60s, this place was hoppin’.”
While the street’s fortunes changed, Jamil’s has remained in business, serving up top-choice cuts and traditional Lebanese hors d’oeuvres.
"Our motto is slow down,” Gawey said. "Come in, sit down with us, slow down the pace. Take your time, have some drinks, eat a little, talk with your friends and eat some more.”
Traditional Lebanese dining can take all day, Gawey said.
Jamil’s began in Tulsa in 1952 under the direction of Gawey’s uncle, Jim "Jamil” Elias. The Tulsa location is still going strong at a new location, 3823 E 51st St., under the guidance of Elias’ son, Tyrone.