Based on their love of hole-in-the-wall falafel joints, halal trucks and Middle Eastern restaurants from Detroit to New York, Max and Eli Sussman created a from-scratch menu that serves their versions of these dishes. Samesa's specialties include healthy dips like roasted beet dip, lentil-pistachio spread, zucchini fritters and chicken shawarma made with organic chicken thighs marinated in buttermilk, labneh and a blend of spices for 48 hours and then slowly spit-roasted. Homemade multi-grain pitas are baked fresh daily.

We opened Samesa in NY as a popup in 2015, mostly because we missed the food that we had grown up with in Southeast Michigan. This part of Michigan has a large population of immigrants from the Middle East and their food and restaurants are everywhere. To us, a shawarma and hummus was as common as a slice of pizza or a bagel is in NYC. And while there are shawarma spots in NYC and ubiquitous Halal carts, as chefs we wanted to create our own version. At the simplest level, we wanted to be able to not only eat it all the time, but also to share our style of shawarma and pita with as many people as possible.

We realized that growing up eating at Pita Cafe, La Shish, Al Ameer and other restaurants in Metro Detroit owned by recent immigrants from Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, and Syria was the single largest contributor to our love of food. The abundant use of fresh herbs, lemon juice, flavorful marinades and spice combinations stuck with us as we moved through the culinary world. We love and respect this culinary heritage and are grateful to be able to work within it at Samesa in our own style. Living in a nation where people are becoming increasingly paralyzed by an irrational fear of immigration and a government that actively promotes islamophobia, hate and xenophobia; we stand in solidarity with the oppressed peoples from many middle eastern countries as we attempt to showcase and honor flavors that are not our own.

We deeply respect and acknowledge that the food we cook at Samesa has flavors, ideas and starting points that originate from countries from which we have no ancestry and no geographical connection. We are white Ashkenazi Jews from Michigan with Polish and Hungarian heritage. We love rye bread, lox, and sable. But we’ve never visited the countries from which our great grandparents came nor did we really eat Polish or Hungarian food growing up. We were more likely to eat sushi, shawarma, or thai food than any staple of Eastern European cuisine.

To wake up every day and cook in our own restaurant and make the food we’ve created after years of trial and error and recipe testing is an awesome opportunity we do not take lightly. We know that these ideas, flavor profiles and spices did not materialize from thin air and we are not the first to use them. Nor do we consider ourselves “the best” or “a modern spin” a “21st century take” or any of the other phrases that would do a disservice to the millions of people that engage with spices and similar flavors each and every day all over the world. Instead we view ourselves as a very small part of the larger culinary world trying to do some good as we cook the food we love.

Over time we’ve grown as cooks, thinking deeply about our impact on the world around us. We strive to make food and run our business in ways that build community and contribute to a greater more inclusive world. So we’ve committed ourselves to working with farms, purchasing from sustainable sources, composting, limiting our food waste by weighing and tracking our waste, using eco-friendly cleaning products, partnering with GOSO and supporting community based organizations.

While we’ve faced immense challenges in order to get Samesa open, we realize the hurdles we have faced are so insignificant in comparison to those faced by people of color in our country and around the world. Samesa is committed to donating food, time and money to local charities and organizations promoting and advocating for peace, inclusion, sanctuary and equality. We work daily to create a safe equal and just work environment that benefits our employees financially, mentally and emotionally and we are committed to creating and fostering an abuse free workplace devoid of yelling, name calling, personal or physical attacks and intimidation.

Samesa is also committed to becoming a more environmentally friendly restaurant through recycling, composting and separating programs in conjunction with BK ROT. We also intend to continue our commitment to sourcing proteins organically, locally and sustainable as much as possible.

This is all part of a conscious effort to make choices that contribute to our community and improve our world. We work day in day out to become a better restaurant, a better neighbor and a better community member. We appreciate the support and your feedback. And we hope to see you at Samesa soon.

Thank you,

Max and Eli Owners/Chefs Samesa NYC



For all inquiries email us at!

Already know what you want?

Want to share Samesa with a large group (10 or more)?

Want to check out some of the other options we have to offer?


Visit us in the newly opened Grimm Brewery!

495 Lorimer St.

Brooklyn NY 11211

11am-11pm,  7 days a week


At the Grimm Brewery!

990 Metropolitan Ave

Brooklyn NY 11211

Mon, Thu 5pm-10pm

Friday 5pm-11pm

Sat: 10am-11pm

Sunday: 12pm-10pm