Gateway to the Mediterranean

Embark on a culinary tour from Italy to Lebanon without leaving Old Town Saginaw. 

When the revitalization of Saginaw jumpstarted in 2012, Gino Vicci, owner of Sandweesh Mediterranean Grille and former WNEM TV-5 reporter, knew he wanted to be a part of the transformation. After analyzing market research and studying the demographics of the area, Vicci began to develop a restaurant concept that would bring something just a little bit different to South Michigan Avenue.
Lamb bowl
Sandweesh Mediterranean Grille combines the flavors from Vicci’s own Greek heritage with the flavors from his wife’s Lebanese roots. In fact, it was his wife’s recipes and culinary talent that inspired the focus of the restaurant on Mediterranean-style cuisine. “There’s a limited view of what Mediterranean food is,” Vicci says. “Sandweesh introduces a menu that is authentic in flavors from the entire Mediterranean Sea region—with a twist.”
Chicken rice wrap with garlic paste
From pitas to hummus to shawarma wraps, guests customize their meals from options that might not be what they are expecting. Set up in a fast-casual format, Sandweesh’s friendly staff assembles restaurant-goers’ choices into a pita wrap, salad, or bowl of rice, each for $7.99. The menu includes a selection of chicken shawarma, lamb or beef shawarma, or falafel—a classic Israeli and Lebanese street food. Sandweesh’s falafel is a lightly fried fritter of mashed chickpeas, lentils, onions, bread crumbs, and seasonings. “The popularity of the falafel has exceeded our expectations,” Vicci says. The dish runs “a close second to the lamb gyro,” he adds.
Spring mix salad with falafel
The lamb is halal, which describes foods allowed under Islamic dietary laws. Halal includes using only steroid-, antibiotic-, and pesticide-free meat. The lamb is slow-roasted on a spit and shaved to order. Customers’ creations are finished with any number of condiments—some traditional and a few Americanized options. Toppings include onion, tomato, and cucumber. Sauces range from tzatziki, a cool and refreshing yogurt-cucumber blend, to Mediterranean vinaigrette, a light oil and vinegar mixture with a hint of garlic, pepper, and other spices. Even more popular than the wraps, bowls, and salads has been the warm, soft, and lightly salted pita chips, served with house-made hummus—a Middle Eastern favorite blended perfectly with chickpeas and just the right amount of tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and seasoning—or garlic dip, a creamy Sandweesh original. Add either accompaniment to an order for $2.50.
Pita chips with za’atar with sea salt and hummus
Whether you’re already a fan of foods found from the tip of Western Europe to the edge of the Middle East, or you’re looking for an accessible introduction that combines the traditional with the familiar, step into Sandweesh for a gastronomic journey along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Sandweesh Mediterranean Grille, 220 S Michigan Ave, Saginaw; 989-401-1895, www.sandweesh.com. Hours: Monday – Friday (11 a.m. – 9 p.m.), Saturday (12 – 8 p.m.), and Sunday (12 – 6 p.m.).  Photos By: Doug Julian

Embark on a culinary tour from Italy to Lebanon without leaving Old Town Saginaw. 

When the revitalization of Saginaw jumpstarted in 2012, Gino Vicci, owner of Sandweesh Mediterranean Grille and former WNEM TV-5 reporter, knew he wanted to be a part of the transformation. After analyzing market research and studying the demographics of the area, Vicci began to develop a restaurant concept that would bring something just a little bit different to South Michigan Avenue.

Lamb bowl

Sandweesh Mediterranean Grille combines the flavors from Vicci’s own Greek heritage with the flavors from his wife’s Lebanese roots. In fact, it was his wife’s recipes and culinary talent that inspired the focus of the restaurant on Mediterranean-style cuisine.

“There’s a limited view of what Mediterranean food is,” Vicci says. “Sandweesh introduces a menu that is authentic in flavors from the entire Mediterranean Sea region—with a twist.”

Chicken rice wrap with garlic paste

From pitas to hummus to shawarma wraps, guests customize their meals from options that might not be what they are expecting.

Set up in a fast-casual format, Sandweesh’s friendly staff assembles restaurant-goers’ choices into a pita wrap, salad, or bowl of rice, each for $7.99. The menu includes a selection of chicken shawarma, lamb or beef shawarma, or falafel—a classic Israeli and Lebanese street food. Sandweesh’s falafel is a lightly fried fritter of mashed chickpeas, lentils, onions, bread crumbs, and seasonings.

“The popularity of the falafel has exceeded our expectations,” Vicci says. The dish runs “a close second to the lamb gyro,” he adds.

Spring mix salad with falafel

The lamb is halal, which describes foods allowed under Islamic dietary laws. Halal includes using only steroid-, antibiotic-, and pesticide-free meat. The lamb is slow-roasted on a spit and shaved to order.

Customers’ creations are finished with any number of condiments—some traditional and a few Americanized options. Toppings include onion, tomato, and cucumber. Sauces range from tzatziki, a cool and refreshing yogurt-cucumber blend, to Mediterranean vinaigrette, a light oil and vinegar mixture with a hint of garlic, pepper, and other spices.

Even more popular than the wraps, bowls, and salads has been the warm, soft, and lightly salted pita chips, served with house-made hummus—a Middle Eastern favorite blended perfectly with chickpeas and just the right amount of tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and seasoning—or garlic dip, a creamy Sandweesh original. Add either accompaniment to an order for $2.50.

Pita chips with za’atar with sea salt and hummus

Whether you’re already a fan of foods found from the tip of Western Europe to the edge of the Middle East, or you’re looking for an accessible introduction that combines the traditional with the familiar, step into Sandweesh for a gastronomic journey along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

Sandweesh Mediterranean Grille, 220 S Michigan Ave, Saginaw; 989-401-1895, www.sandweesh.com. Hours: Monday – Friday (11 a.m. – 9 p.m.), Saturday (12 – 8 p.m.), and Sunday (12 – 6 p.m.). 

Photos By: Doug Julian

Related

Sugarbeet PlantsSugarbeet Plants

Sweetening the Deal

Michigan Sugar President and CEO Mark Flegenheimer ordered the purc…
Game Changer TherapyGame Changer Therapy

Mind and Body Health

Get to know Scott Staszak, Owner of Game Changer Therapy Services
Three HeadshotsThree Headshots

How Businesses are Giving Back

Great Lakes Bay Magazine checked in with local business owners on w…
Smoke stacksSmoke stacks

MI Healthy Climate Plan Aims to Reduce Fossil Fuel Dependence

Success of the plan hinges on eliminating Michigan’s dependence on …
Gentleman in front of a resturantGentleman in front of a resturant

Restaurants Pivot to Survive Pandemic’s Economic Effects

2,000 restaurants are estimated to have permanently closed, accordi…

Connect

Contact

517.203.3333

221 W. Saginaw St.
Lansing MI, 48933

All Rights Reserved 517 Business and Lifestyle Magazine. Website designed and developed by M3 Group