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Masrawy Egyptian Kitchen

Masrawy Egyptian Kitchen is bringing a taste of Cairo to the people of Mississauga, Ontario. Owner Mohamed Saleh talked to Foodie about sharing his native culture with the community and providing patrons with a traditional experience that goes beyond food.

How would you describe Masrawy Egyptian Kitchen?

Our restaurant is very welcoming and authentic. At Masrawy, we try to nourish your body and feed your soul. You’re not here to just have a meal; you’re here to have an experience, from how the place looks, to the servers who treat you like family. We cook traditional Egyptian soul food.

What’s the story behind Masrawy?

We started off in 2014 as a catering company. At first, we cooked at my house, and then we started catering out of the back of restaurant kitchens. Eventually we grew so much that I needed to build my own commercial kitchen. We were doing private parties and corporate events of all kinds. But people kept asking us to open a restaurant, and in 2018 I finally decided to take the risk.

How did you transition from managing a catering company to running a full-service restaurant?

In my 30 years of living in Canada, I had never seen anyone open an Egyptian restaurant, and now I know why—making this kind of home-cooked food is labour-intensive. Thankfully, with the help of Sysco, we’ve been able to manage our food costs and get all the supplies we need at a reasonable price. I was also blessed with the best team. A renowned chef joined us first, quickly followed by an all-around perfect staff. My wife works in the restaurant with me when she’s not teaching as a professor.

What are some of your signature dishes?

You’ve got to try the staple dish of Egypt, which is called koshari. It’s rice, lentils, pasta, chickpeas, caramelized onions, tomato-garlic sauce and a garlic vinaigrette. It’s vegan- and vegetarian-friendly. After that, I would suggest the hawaoshi, which is like a street burger. It’s a mix of ground beef and ground lamb that has been seasoned and stuffed into flatbread. I would also recommend our chicken tikka. It is marinated for two days and then cooked to perfection in a tangy sauce.

What items do you source from Sysco?

What don’t we get from Sysco? All of our produce and all of our dry goods are from Sysco. We use Sysco for biodegradable containers and anything used for takeout.

How has Sysco been integral to your growth and success?

I would not have been able to open this restaurant without Wassem Khassib, my Sysco representative. He came in and was able to get me everything I needed to start the restaurant. Sysco trusted me and saw
my potential, and they offered me amazing payment arrangements. Wassem is always available and never leaves us hanging. We can call or text him at any time, and he’s very hands-on with our chef, too.

Sysco trusted me and saw my potential.

What are your plans for the future?

In the future, I’d love to open more locations in different parts of the city so more people can have access to our food. However, for now I’m focusing on perfecting the current location and continuing to introduce our customers to items that aren’t offered anywhere else.