Meet John Khalil, co-owner and friendly face of Cedars of Lebanon in Seattle. John owns the popular Lebanese restaurant in the University District with his wife Janette and has been a fixture in the community for over 46 years. In this week’s Business Spotlight Q&A, John discusses his appreciation for the people in the U District, giving back, and the emotional toll the explosion in Lebanon has had on him and his family.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What’s your favorite part about being in Seattle’s University District neighborhood?
The education and quality of the people around the university. They are responsible and have good heads on their shoulders. They have qualities of good, decent human beings. And that’s what I love most about them. I used to be a school teacher and have a high education myself, so I can relate to them and it makes me feel so comfortable. I enjoy listening, making conversation, and having a good time with them.
What’s something your customers may not know about you or your business?
I took care of homeless people and housed them in my home. We took care of them for 23 years, and we didn’t hesitate to help them or anybody else. The most important thing for me was to let everybody know that I was there for them. But the situation is different now. We don’t have enough to [support] ourselves and be out there like we used to.
What’s been going through your mind following the tragedy in Lebanon last week?
It’s been very sad for me. It hurts me that all my family, neighbors, and friends have been suffering. [The explosion] destroyed their houses, life, and everything. What hurts us the most is we can’t reach out because of our situation here. We have the virus and construction that makes everything hard for us. I just can’t send any money to family to support and help them out.
You can support John and Cedars of Lebanon by purchasing a gift certificate from our Gift Certificate Marketplace. Or, stop by this week for some of the tastiest takeout in Seattle.