10 long time Arab American businesses in Jacksonville

Arab Americans have played a major part in Jacksonville history and culture since the 1890s. In honor of National Arab American Heritage Month, here are ten local Arab American businesses that have been around for 20 years or more.

All American Hot Dog & Sandwiches

10365 Beach Boulevard

A local gem, All American Hot Dog & Sandwiches was established by Nahida Salameh and family in 1972. Featuring an original Cherry Limeade recipe, the 40-seat restaurant’s signature items include toasted bun premium beef hot dogs, steak-in-a-sack pitas, camel riders and subs. According to owner Nader “Nate” Salameh, the restaurant still operates behind his father’s deep belief that each hot dog, an American food item, should be served “All American.”

Azar & Company Wholesale Meats

719 East Union Street

The original recipe for Azar Sausage was created by John Azar in 1954. Azar and his family had emigrated from Lebanon to the U.S. in the 1920s, eventually opening up a small grocery store in Jacksonville. Sausage making became somewhat of a pastime for Azar, and before long, he was selling sausages out of the back of that grocery store.

Word of Azar’s sausages spread and they gained popularity among locals very quickly. John eventually converted the family grocery store into a state-inspected sausage plant, and thus Azar Sausage Company was born. By 1960, Azar Sausage Company had become a national brand when Azar’s son Raymond joined the company.

Today, Azar is still a family-operated company running on its third generation: Azar’s son Raymond along with his own sons Phillip and John. They still use the same original family recipes involving the finest quality of meats and herbs. Azar cleans, seasons, grinds, and rolls out 20,000 pounds of sausage and 30,000 to 40,000 pounds of smoked meat each week. Their products include fresh breakfast links, mild and spicy smoked sausage and Italian sausage, and bratwursts. They also offer limited cuts of meat, like ribs and neck-bones. Azar products are locally available at Winn-Dixie, in some independent meat markets, and are served in several restaurants, including Bono’s, Hoptinger, Woody’s, Country Cabin and Metro Diner. Their bratwursts are also served at Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp baseball games. In addition, they sell in bulk at the plant to anyone willing to pay them a visit.

Casbah Café

3628 St. Johns Avenue

In 1999, Jason Bajalia opened one of the first hookah lounges in Florida: the Casbah Café. Located in the Shoppes of Avondale, the Casbah Café is well known for its Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine with dishes from Morocco, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Palestine.