Make a healthy pit stop during Woodward Dream Cruise

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News
Order Middle Eastern cuisine at the counter inside the BP gas station.

Fast food, diners, ice cream and other tempting munchies, many related to car culture, dot both sides of Woodward's cruise zone. 

One of the newest places to get a bite to eat on Woodward during this year's Dream Cruise, though, is a gas station on the west side of Woodward just south of 13 Mile. Owner Layth Kassab opened Habibi Shawarma Grille inside his shiny new BP station near Beaumont's Woodward Corners development just three weeks ago. 

They serve made-to-order and grab-and-go Middle Eastern salads, sandwiches, bowls and appetizers, including falafel, hummus (and jalapeno cilantro hummus), tabbouleh and more. The star of the show here, however, is the build-your-own bowl or wrap, done assembly-style at a counter inside the gas station. 

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Owner Kassab, who is also the proprietor of a nearby pizza-and-gas-station business on the east side of Woodward (a Saroki's Pizza inside a Shell station), said his Habibi wraps are the perfect portable food. 

"This is so convenient, like grabbing a hot dog," he said. "You can walk and eat. That's what's going to bring a lot of people in for the Dream Cruise. You can eat something that's healthy and fresh on the go that's ready in a couple of minutes." 

Choose a protein as the base of your bowl or wrap (or make it vegetarian) and add toppings like garlic, hummus, chopped vegetables, quinoa, nuts, pickled turnips, pita chips, olives, feta cheese, tahini sauce and more. 

The newly-remodeled BP gas station with a Middle Eastern carry-out counter inside is ready for Dream Cruisers.

 Kassab tapped chef Nazar Asmar of Princess Mediterranean Grill of Commerce Township to write the menu for Habibi Shawarma Grille. 

"He marinates everything himself, he won't share his recipe with any of his managers or employees," said Kassab, who got to know the chef by eating at his Commerce Township restaurant. "He lived in Sweden for like 10 years, he worked in a Middle Eastern restaurant, he's worked in pizza, he can make a burger ... he can make the best steak bites ever." 

Besides housing Habibi Shawarma Grille, Kassab's renovated BP gas station also has a huge variety of beer, wine and liquor, and carries gourmet snacks "that you won't find in most gas stations." 

Serving flavorful Middle Eastern food inside a gas station isn't a new concept. Mr. Kabob has been killing it inside the Sunoco at 12 Mile and Coolidge in Berkley for years.

Mr. Kabob, founded in 2003, has newer locations in downtown Detroit, Troy and Southfield. It serves wraps, salads, entrees, combos and offers catering services. 

Sounds far better than a microwaved burrito.

Twitter: @melodybaetens