A dozen of restaurants opened since start
of 2012, more planned before year end
BlueBerry Square, a food district located in Dbayeh Marina, is set to open soon. The new area will have seven restaurants, including Leil Nhar, Al Balad, Let’s Burger, Margherita, and Couqley.
Dbayeh is booming and emerging as a new restaurants hub. The area has seen a dozen restaurants open since the start of the year. The number of new eateries is rising weekly. Dbayeh hosts a variety of restaurant concepts, from casual diners to high-end bistros, among these: Babel, Zahr El Laymoun, Living Colors, Crepaway, Chopsticks, Fuddruckers, Mandaloun café, LVD, Food Village, and Duo.
Ramez Paoli, managing partner at BlueBerry Square, said Dbayeh has created a market of its own when it comes to leisure: “People who used to dine out once a week are now doing so twice a week.” He said the Metn district has a sizable population with a high consumption rate and higher per capita income compared to other areas.
Paoli said Dbayeh offers a safe area for investors and consumers: “Booming construction activity in Metn is encouraging the dining businesses.”
“It is natural for the suburbs (of Beirut) to grow,” said Raja Nasri, managing partner at Turnkey Ventures, a hospitality consultancy firm. According to Nasri, investors are rushing to launch their projects in the region now before the Waterfront City project becomes operational. “Real estate prices are still affordable now, but prices will soar in a short time.” Investment per standalone restaurant is no less than $1.5 million. Rentals at malls are around $300,000 per annum (some $2,500 per square meter).
Tarek Chalhoub, sales and marketing manager at Afkar Group, the company behind Babel, said that high-end locales in Metn, such as Rabieh, did not have a leisure destination nearby. “Dbayeh is expected to become a Zaitunay Bay-like venue, especially after the development of the sea side,” he said.
Reported by Rana Freifer
Date Posted: Jul 13, 2012