In 1972, brothers Samir “Sam” and Munir “Mike Senior” Salameh, along with their wives Suad “Sue” and Basima, opened the first Sheik restaurant on the corner of 18th Street and Main Street in Jacksonville, Florida. That restaurant still operates today. From the very beginning the brothers knew that the keys to any successful restaurant are great service and great food.
Through the years, the chain has grown from one location to multiple locations across the Jacksonville area — all owned and operated by family members. During that time period, The Sheik became known for selling the best “Steak in a Sack” or steak pita and for its “Camel Rider,” or deli meat pita. The chain also originated the “Cherry Lime,” The Sheik’s version of a black cherry and lime soft drink. All three items have gone on to become ubiquitous throughout the South and synonymous with the Jacksonville dining scene — even garnering an article in The New York Times.
Since the opening of that first location, the Salamehs have worked closely with relatives and a carefully selected team of restaurant professionals in the development of their restaurant concept. They’ve based their business on the principles of providing the customer with the highest quality, fresh ingredients, and fast, efficient service, at an affordable price, all in a clean family environment. As a result, The Sheik has always received rave reviews and is ready for the next forty years or so.
The Sheik in the future.
Be on the lookout for a new The Sheik opening at a location near you. You can always open one yourself to speed up the process. Visit our franchising page for more information.