Restaurant Spotlight sponsored by Desert Inn

By Steven Arnold
Advertising writer

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Few local restaurants can match the unique Arabic flare and impeccable service offered at the Desert Inn Restaurant in Canton. It is an unforgettable experience of both authentic Syrian cuisine and culture. The cuisine offers an innovative blend of exotic ingredients and the unmatched cooking style of Mark and Tina’s son Chef Markos Shaheen. The restaurant boasts a unique blend of a warm; yet upscale atmosphere and cultural décor, meticulous application of the top-tier hospitality, while yet maintaining a very casual, family friendly, affordable fine dining experience. The Desert Inn Restaurant and Lounge originally started in 1970 by Mark’s father John Shaheen Sr. and was reopened in 1987 by Mark and his wife Tina. As one of the few local independent restaurateurs remaining, their commitment to consistent cuisine and an enriching cultural experience is refreshing.

The Desert Inn specializes in the “Family Style” dining experience and it is truly run “Family Style!” Have no fear if your knowledge about Mediterranean cuisine is limited. The commitment to attentiveness of both, the owners as well as wait staff to guest satisfaction and the uniqueness of the experience is extraordinary. If you want to maximize the experience, Friday evenings, the dining experience is culminated through evening entertainment featuring a very tasteful exotic belly dancer in the private, intimate, child friendly family dining area. If you are out for a romantic evening with your significant other, the Piano Bar embodies just the right setting and atmosphere for a quaint evening. Mark and Tina’s other son Joe manages the bar and is a specialist in guest satisfaction.

For appetizers, you have the choice of sampling the humus, baba ganoush, grape leaves, tabooli, kibbee or their Arabic egg roll (not to be confused with a Chinese egg roll). Pair all of this with a very knowledgeable and helpful wait staff, a “Family style” platter consisting of: Grecian salad, rice pilaf, roasted potatoes and garlic toast, and an extensive variety of very well prepared entrees of beef, lamb or a combo (beef and lamb) kabob or you can try a cooked to your approval filet mignon kabob. Chicken, and shrimp kabobs are offered as well. If your not in the mood for a kabob, there are more incredible options to choose from such as small and large strip steaks, rack of lamb, steak diane, king and queen filets, South African lobster tail, orange roughy, and cod. Friday’s and Saturday’s the Desert Inn offers a slow cooked Prime Rib cooked to perfection! Amazingly, nothing in this place is deep-fried! The Desert Inn also offers catering and carryout of all menu items and will deliver to your house party or office party for a nominal fee or you can pick up at your convenience.

Locally, the Desert Inn’s charitable work throughout our community should be noted as well. Mark and Tina Shaheen generously give their time and service to a number of charitable causes on behalf of local families. Most recently, the Desert Inn participated in the 8th Annual Akron Wine Opener, a national wine tasting series benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Several of Mark Shaheen’s unique dishes have also been featured on Fox8 and the Desert Inn scores consistently well (4.5 out of 5 stars) on Yelp, Trip Advisor, and Urban Spoon. No matter what you order at the Desert Inn, the Shaheen family is sure to provide you and your guests an evening you will want to repeat. Before you leave, be sure and ask for a ‘Dirty Mother’—the Desert Inn’s signature drink—it’s the perfect ending to a perfect meal! Make a reservation now to see what all the fuss is about! Contact the Desert Inn Restaurant and Lounge at 330.456.1766 or

Desert Inn Restaurant and Lounge

204 12th St. Northwest

Canton, OH 44641

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