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.

Samesa began in NY, 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 was as common as a slice of pizza or a bagel is in NYC. And while there are shawarma spots in NY and ubiquitous Halal carts, as chefs we felt like we had something to contribute. At the simplest level, we love chicken shawarma and wanted to be able to not only eat it all the time, but also to share our version with as many people as possible.

Looking back, 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 prominence of fresh herbs, lemon juice, flavorful marinades and spice combinations stuck with us as we moved through the culinary world. We love this culinary heritage and are grateful to be able to work within it at Samesa.

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 Hungarian and Russian 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 Hungarian or Russian 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 Rescuing Leftover Cuisine and hiring all employees in above the minimum wage with the goal of achieving a $15 hourly minimum ahead of NYC schedule.

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. So Samesa is partnering with The Detroit Food Academy. We will be donating a portion of our profits every year to this amazing organization that mentors Detroit youth who are pursuing culinary careers.

This is all part of a conscious effort to make choices that contribute to our community and improve our world. 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?


495 Lorimer St.

Brooklyn NY 11211


Sunday: 11am-11pm

Monday-Thursday: 11am-11pm

Friday-Saturday: 11am-midnight