To be the best baker in all Loubieh, that was something.  People came from all over to the Lebanese mountain village for the bread of Ali Siblini, and he was justly proud that he had, for his family’s sake, made the most of what was, admittedly, a humble profession.

But the civil war which ravaged Lebanon between 1975 and 1990, along with the Israeli invasion that ousted the PLO, made Ali Siblini and his family think seriously about relocating the bakery… possibly half a planet away.

With a son already attending Wayne State University, Ali sent a small contingency of other sons to Detroit to feel out the business climate.  By the mid-Eighties they’d targeted a small storefront on Warren in an area which was suffering its own civil blight, and so, was affordable.  Thus was born the New Yasmeen Bakery, on a shoe-string budget which certainly had no extra cash for advertising.  The Siblini family hoped that world of mouth would suffice in a new land with new customs and ways of doing business.

Guess what?  Ali Siblini turned out to be the best baker in all Dearborn too.

Driven in part by the throngs of customers, both Arab and otherwise, that were drawn in by Ali’s pita, the New Yasmeen Bakery became instrumental in raising local property values and attracting many new business to that stretch of Warren, but just about the time that the block was fully fleshed out, they realized they’d outgrown their floor space.  The family, now led by Hussein Siblini, who’d also graduated from Wayne State (engineering), moved into a much larger storefront, expanding the menu to include a full range of pastries and Lebanese specialties; hummus, taboulleh, kibbe, majadara, chicken shwarma, shish tawook, etc.  There are even Western-style goodies in the dessert counter.

The heart of the operation, however, is the brick baking oven, which Hussein maintains duplicates the flavors of the small mountain village where he was born.  There is a humble, homespun deliciousness to the fare, but also a down-to-earth friendliness among the dozens of employees, especially general manager Ahmad Yassin, Hussein’s nephew.  Ahmad is instrumental in keeping the New Yasmeen up to its stellar reputation.

Ali, who passed away several years ago, would have been justifiably proud of his family’s growth in the New World, which was achieved without compromising any of the quality, old world simplicity, and human relations that was the cornerstone to his reputation, here and in Loubieh.




Russell Ebeid

Flavors or the Arab World December 2nd at the Rock Financial Shwplace,
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