EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) – An iconic restaurant in downtown Eugene, Café Zenon will soon be gone. However, its owner already has plans to refresh and reopen the eatery with a brand new taste and vibe.
Eugene restaurant owner Ibrahim Hamide announced this week he will be shutting down Café Zenon about two weeks from February 8. The closure will only be temporary though, as Hamide plans to open a new Lebanese restaurant in the same location soon.
The café has been open at the corner of Broadway and Pearl in downtown Eugene since 1982. Hamide took over ownership of the restaurant after its previous owners closed the café in 2009.
Four years later, Hamide says it’s now time for a change. In about two weeks, he’ll renovate the interior and change the menu. In another two weeks, the restaurant should reopen.
The menu will carry over some characteristics of the Casablanaca Middle Eastern Café, another eatery that Hamide has owned since the early 1980s.
For the last thirty years, Hamide says he has wanted to expand the Casablanca. However, it has been constrained by the space in the 5th Street Market’s food court.
Hamide says as downtown Eugene is changing, now is the time for him to try something new. He says the Lebanese restaurant he’ll open will mirror many of the new eating trends.
"That's the trend, the food trend goes with healthier, fresher, faster to prepare, more casual,” says Hamide.
Once it opens, Hamide’s Lebanese restaurant will be the first of its kind in Eugene.
“It's fresh, zesty and alive, not hot, as in spicy. It's a really perfect cuisine, it's my favorite,” says Hamide.
Hamide says he will also be closing the Casablanca Café soon so that he can fully concentrate on the new restaurant. As for the name, that’s still up in the air. Hamide plans to announce a name closer to the new restaurant’s opening.