Photo by Jessica Keller: Andrea Ryan, the chef and co-owner of Damoori Kitchen and market, measures out one of her Lebanese homemade dips she sells online for pick up on Friday afternoons at the business storefront, 3101 W. Jameson St., in Magnolia. Ryan is offering limited meal service and online market options while things are uncertain for restaurants during the coronavirus shutdowns.
Photo by Jessica Keller: Andrea Ryan, the chef and co-owner of Damoori Kitchen and market, measures out one of her Lebanese homemade dips she sells online for pick up on Friday afternoons at the business storefront, 3101 W. Jameson St., in Magnolia. Ryan is offering limited meal service and online market options while things are uncertain for restaurants during the coronavirus shutdowns.
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While it wasn’t Andrea Ryan’s idea to launch her Lebanese restaurant and market in Magnolia as a slow open, the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent shutdowns had the same result.

Ryan, who is chef and co-owner of Damoori Kitchen and market, hasn’t let COVID-19 derail her plans, but they are different than she initially intended.

Technically, neither her restaurant nor market are open yet, but Ryan is still doing what she can to establish herself in Magnolia.

Damoori Kitchen and market are actually the next stage of her business, which she launched two and a half years ago in SODO primarily doing corporate catering and whole sales, packaging dips.

“But we were kind of open to what also this business would bring to us,” she said, adding she and her husband eventually decided they wanted to enter a new phase of their business. “It was kind of a dream of ours.”

For their new phase, they looked closer to home and found their new location, 3101 W. Jameson St., in Magnolia.

“We live a few minutes drive away from here, and it was kind of perfect,” she said.

They began the build out for a few months and things were looking up, until they weren’t.

“We kind of got the OK the week everything unravelled with coronavirus,” Ryan said. “When all of that started, it was a little shocking.”

With a catering business shuttered, Ryan turned her focus to what she could do — prepare homestyle Lebanese family cooking, specifically her family’s.

“These are recipes I just grew up with cooking in the house,” Ryan said.

Since she can’t open her full-fledged restaurant yet, Ryan is offering Damoori dinners, which feature meals that are picked up curbside between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. every Thursday and Friday.

“I issue people a 30-minute pickup window, just so we keep it safe,” Ryan said.

To keep everyone safe from COVID-19, Ryan has capped her dinners to 30 pickup slots each week, although she hopes to raise the cap to more diners when social distancing is loosened.

“We’ve actually been selling out our dinners the day we post the menus,” Ryan said. “We’re just trying to ease into it until we get a little more help.”

She said one of her most popular dishes has been a Lebanese version of chicken and rice, where she marinates the chicken with her own spice blend before roasting it and its served on rice, which is made with ground been, pine nuts and spices and topped with pine nuts and almonds.

In the last month or so, Ryan has been trying out some newer recipes, including artichoke meshwi, made of artichoke bottoms and served with warm couscous.

The menus rotate weekly and feature a meat and vegetarian option. Ryan said the menu is posted on Instagram and emailed to the Damoori Kitchen subscriber list every Monday morning. To join the subscriber list, go to damoorikitchen.com/dinner.

The market, when it opens, is going to be a Levantine market, offering products of the Levant — a region in the Middle East that includes Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Israel and Syria. One of the reasons Ryan decided to open a market was because there are very few Lebanese markets in the area, although there are a few restaurants.

“It will have some of our products that we package ourself and our favorite products,” Ryan said, adding she’ll also have heat-and-serve meals and trays people can pick up.

Just recently, Ryan started her online market, where people can preorder what they want by 5 p.m. Wednesday and then pick them up between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Fridays.

Already her four flagship dips have been a hit among customers, who have been ordering the Damoori Kitchen Just Hummus, baba ganoush, tzatziki and labneh with Lebanese za’atar online along with a growing selection of other items.

While Ryan amended her plans to suit the current business climate, she still cannot say definitely when the restaurant and market will actually open.

“We’re not really going to make a decision until we kind of have an idea of what opening back up in Seattle is going to be like,” she said, adding it is possible she will not start out with full hours.

She has decided, however, the focus of her business is no longer going to be corporate catering, although it is possible she may cater private events, such as birthday parties. Ryan said the focus now is to do what they enjoy.

“I feel like this has allowed us to kind of reach out more straight to our customers, which has been amazing,” Ryan said.

According to the website, Damoori Kitchen is named after her father’s hometown of Damour, Lebanon, and was opened “with the sole purpose of sharing authentic Lebanese cuisine with families everywhere.”

For more information about Damoori Kitchen and market, go to damoorikitchen.com.