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Utah Eats: Layla Grill


When you think of going out to dinner for some international cuisine, you probably think: Italian, or Mexican or Chinese. The thought of going to a Middle Eastern place might seem a little daunting…maybe too far out of your comfort zone.

When you see (or taste) the food at Layla restaurant in Holladay, you would guess the guys behind this place have food in their blood, and you would be right.

You just might not guess how they got here.

As a young lady, Layla left her home country of Lebanon to come visit her uncle here in Utah.

Raouf had already left his home country of Egypt to come here to study engineering at the University of Utah.

The two met up and Layla never went back home…she stayed here to marry her engineer.

But he gave up engineering and opened up a string of restaurants, eventually settling on Italian food at Confetti located in the heart of Holladay.

While Raoulf made Italian food at the restaurant, Layla made Lebanese food at home for friends

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8:06-8:19 They love it…when we have people to our house, they ask to take the rest back with them…no more Italian food…no more Italian

Not just their son, but all the kids lobbied mom and dad to for a major change.

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27:44-28:08 And so after years of finagling, the kids were finally successful…that’s when Layla was born.

Layla is fresh and new, thanks to the New York Architect who designed the overhaul. And the recipes are authentic thanks to Layla’s tweaking of the recipes she got from her mom and grandma. And after her years of cooking at home, she was cautiously ready to share it with the rest of us.

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8:43-8:49

I think it was a good idea, I didn’t know it was going to be crazy…we were going to do this kind of business.

And the restaurant has been more successful than Raouf had initially thought.

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12:00-12:09 How come it took them so much convincing…they have a stubborn dad.

Maybe that’s partly because his kids wanted him to cook what he loved the most, and he just wanted to go into retirement and work less.

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12:40-12:46 that was the plan…how did that plan work out…It worked out in their benefit.

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14:43-15:01 It’s a family affair here at Layla…and pine nuts.

Tony was the son who had the vision of using his parents’ Mediterranean background for a hip, cool take on mid-eastern food…He was the one who bugged them for years.

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17:15-17:21 They were going to blame you…I knew in my heart is was going to be a really good place.

And in less than three years, it has become exactly that.

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10:23-10:30 and how does that make you feel when people are ordering all your recipes…it feels so good…are you layla…Oh it’s so nice to meet you.

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