Meet Ibrahim Eldomyati, Owner of Feast On Us
September 1, 2020
Feast on Us has been a neighborhood staple in Meatpacking for over 25 years. During a typical work week the storefront is the go-to for a hearty lunch at a reasonable price. On the catering side, Feast on Us has worked with the likes of the High Line, Whitney Museum, Warby Parker, and InStyle magazine just to name a few. Owner, Ibrahim Eldomyati, has seen the neighborhood change throughout the years and has always adapted to whatever comes his way. Covid-19 has caused Feast on Us to change some of the ways they do business, but has not affected the quality or guaranteed friendly service. Small businesses like Ibrahim’s are what make our city so great. Get to know Ibrahim below and, if you can, stop by to support Feast on Us at 645 Hudson Street.
You were born in Cairo, Egypt. When and why did you move to NYC?
I graduated from Alexandria University with a degree in Philosophy but I’ve always been in love with cooking, so in 1985 I decided to move to NYC to study culinary arts and pursue a career as a chef.
Were you always interested in becoming a chef? What attracted you to the profession?
I’ve always loved being in the kitchen, even as a child, I would always help my mother prepare food for the family. When I first moved to New York, I started working part time at a restaurant for free to gain experience in the kitchen and later had the opportunity to study at the French Culinary Institute. Soon after, I became a chef at that same restaurant, but this time I was getting paid.
Do you incorporate aspects of Egyptian cuisine in your dishes at Feast On Us?
Definitely. Egyptian cuisine is well known for using a lot of beans, lentils, and vegetables, and a lot of Feast On Us dishes feature these ingredients. I also love featuring common spices used in Egyptian cuisine such as cumin, dill, parsley, and mint. It adds a lot of taste and color to the dishes at FOU. I actually grow most of the herbs we use in my backyard in Brooklyn.
Feast On Us has been around since 1995. How have you seen the neighborhood, the customers and the business change over the last 25 years?
There has definitely been changes in the neighborhood since 1995. When we first opened up our catering business, there were a lot of butcher shops and warehouses in the area. Over the last two decades, we have seen more residents moving in to the neighborhood. That is the main reason we decided to open up the retail portion of feast on us. We wanted our neighbors to get to know us and what we do.
Knowing your customers are like family, is there a specific story or instance that sticks out in your mind after being open all these years?
We love talking to and getting to know all of our customers, so naturally, so many stories come to mind! But I do have to mention one, Eric, or like I liked to call him, “The Dictionary”. He worked as a New York Times editor and was a good friend of mine and FOU. He would always come by the kitchen (before we opened the retail portion) and would have lunch and share some of his knowledge with us. He had something new to share every time he visited.
The current pandemic has taken a toll on a lot of business, especially in the food industry. How have you and your business adapted to all the changes?
It has been difficult, since we are a catering business, a large portion of our business has been affected by closures since March, but we are adapting the best that we can. We’ve changed the way that we offer our catering services to address the health and safety concerns of our customers and staff. Feast on Us has always been about changing and adapting to the needs of our community and clients, so as long as the industry keeps changing, we will find a way to get through it.
Your menu often changes. Are there a few staple dishes you always keep on it? What are they? What are the “must orders” at Feast on Us?
Our menu changes daily but you will always find our Seared Lemon Sea Bass, Rosemary Grilled Chicken, and Kale Salad on there. My favorite dish on the menu is the tarragon chicken with spinach, gorgonzola cheese, and cream sauce. Customers also enjoy the turkey and avocado panini, curry chicken sandwich, and our fresh mozzarella with eggplant sandwich.