Mint and Olives is in the old Pho Than Brothers space at 8 W. Mercer St.
Mint and Olives is in the old Pho Than Brothers space at 8 W. Mercer St.
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In scaling back their locations to something more manageable, Pho Than Brothers closed its Lower Queen Anne spot over the summer.

After three months of major renovations — from floor to ceiling — Ibrahim Kameel is welcoming customers back to try his new Mediterranean restaurant concept, Mint and Olives.

Kameel isn’t new to the neighborhood. He started The Golden Olive on Queen Anne Avenue North in 2013, but later sold his share of the business to his former partner.

“I decided to move over to this one, and then start new branches if we’re successful with this one,” he said.

Customers order off a large picture menu at the counter, and can take standards like gyros, falafel and shawarma to go, or sit down for something more intricate like lamb shank ($21.95) or Cornish chicken ($17.95). All platters come with a salad and choice of white or yellow rice.

“This place is casual, but it’s more toward fine-dining,” Kameel said.

The business owner said the menu is wider than a lot of casual Mediterranean spots, and customers don’t have to bus their own tables; don’t go looking for trashcans in the dining area.

Kameel grew up in the West Bank, and he credits his mother for encouraging his culinary passion.

“I’ve been here 26 years, and I learned to cook even before I came here, when I was a teenager. I learned to cook from my mom,” he said. “I loved cooking. I wanted to help stir the pot when she was cooking the stew, or flipping the meat when she was cooking the meat.”

He’d cooked for his roommates, who encouraged him to start his own restaurant, he said, which he did after several tiresome years in fast food.

Kameel prepares a lot of the dishes at Mint and Olives himself, and a friend from Syria is making the homemade baklava and harissa, he said.

“I make the best falafel,” Kameel said. “I keep the raw falafel for only two days.”

Mint and Olives opened at 8 W. Mercer St. on Oct. 3, and so far has been busiest during lunchtime and steady from 5-8 p.m.

“People love it,” Kameel said. “We don’t have a website yet, so the only people who know about us are on the street or our neighbors.”

The outside signs are working to stop folks walking along Mercer, and Mint and Olives will soon also be available through Uber Eats and DoorDash.