Dear Roadster Diner,

I love you. I really do.

Out of all Lebanese restaurants, you might be my second favorite. A close second at that. Sorry, but nothing can top Batroun’s Pizza Royal (and they don’t make my wallet go drastically thinner too).

My relationship with you can be abusive sometimes, mostly from your part both to my wallet and my cholesterol levels. And despite that, I keep going back.

But this is not about me loving you. It’s about you not loving me as much. You see, you, as a franchise, can be categorized as somewhat xenophobic (Dubai doesn’t count). How so? Have you looked at how your branches are spread out across Lebanon?

Take Beirut as the center. Your branches are located all around Beirut. The furthest one to the North is in Kaslik and the furthest one to the south is in Verdun. So say I’m spending summer in my hometown in the North, I cannot eat your Diner Mite 220 unless I go all the way to Kaslik, where I have to wait for ten or more minutes so I can be seated in the non-smoking section. And during summer, the City Mall branch has waiting times that can go to about 30 minutes. To say business is overflowing would be an understatement, right?

So why don’t you invest in spreading out more to the North and further to the South? I’m not saying go all the way to Akkar or the Southern border but you know, Batroun or Saida would be a good stopping place, no? I’d even take Jbeil if Batroun is too far for you.

You see, your rival Crepaway is already spreading out way more than you do. Their Batroun branch has been doing quite well for a few years now and they’re opening up a new branch in Jbeil. I don’t like Crepaway as much as I like you but they’re more accessible, and therefore, more prominent in the Lebanese scene. Look at it this way: more people would readily go to the more available place, right?

The new branches don’t need to be a full blown architectural design like the new Batroun McDonald’s. They can be a small place enough to keep business in the positive range in small Northern cities and enough to satisfy the appetites of your customers whose lives do not revolve around the Lebanese capital.


A hungry Lebanese citizen.

McDonald’s New Lebanon Branch – Batroun

The McDonald’s franchise is opening up a new branch in the coastal Lebanese city of Batroun as part of what looks to be an aggressive expansion campaign.

The Batroun branch has been set at an old fashioned Lebanese house, completely renovated for this purpose, right on the main road.

The two-story house/restaurant’s interior is composed of state of the art equipment that contrast with the rustic exterior. I have to say, this is probably the most amazing McDonald’s restaurant in Lebanon, if not everywhere. It combines both tradition with the future.

But the question begs itself: how successful will this branch be in a city known for an overflow of restaurants that offer cheaper burgers and sometimes better food?

Don’t expect many outsiders to come to this branch. After all, other branches are only a ten minute drive away. This McDonald’s is for the people in Batroun, a not very populated city. Will the returns be enough to cover the cost? I doubt. It’s still a nice place to look at though.

Check out the pictures I took of the place while passing by:

Dear Lebanese Army, What’s This Fuckery?

Every Lebanese (and non-Lebanese) who has been to the North has to pass by a Lebanese army checkpoint at the Madfoun bridge, known as the infamous Madfoun checkpoint.

We used to pass by that checkpoint every day, not caring about it since it wasn’t that problematic to through. But now, every single time you go through the checkpoint, you:

1) Get stuck in unbelievable traffic,

2) Solve a barricade puzzle with your car,

3) Take another driving test, which most Lebanese people undoubtedly need.

And why’s that? Because by the looks of it, the only spot where the Lebanese army decided to reinforce law is the Madfoun checkpoint, even removing the more necessary checkpoint outside Tripoli, which was set up after the Nahr El Bared incidence with the terrorist group of Fath Al Islam.

The new reinforcements include barricades placed left and right (and if they could, I’m sure they would have put some floating in the air) and road bumps that are as bumpy as you could get (they actually add these for a week then remove them because they could damage cars).

Why so? Are the people of Jbeil going to attack the people of Batroun? Or is Batroun the filthiest area of the country when it comes to crime?

I understand my state is the entry district to the North. But I can think of many other locations where such a checkpoint might be more beneficial to fight crime and would cost even less manpower, money and time. Besides, don’t you think a criminal would take the longer inside roads to North Lebanon, instead of a checkpoint that has been here for decades?

And for God’s sake, if you want to keep it, how about you open up the freaking side road that you keep for hotshot people so it doesn’t take me ten minutes to cross a fifty meter stretch of road?

Lebanon’s Sacred Valley – Qadisha

The Qadisha valley (also known as Annoubin) whose pictures you see below is a world heritage site. It is a magical location, deep in the Lebanese mountains, used for centuries to harbor Maronites from persecution.

The pictures are for the western tip of the valley, for a location known as St. Elijah’s convent. I took family members there earlier today and, even though I’ve been there numerous times, the place never ceases to amaze me.

The valley is crowned by the majestic Lebanon mountains, which also harbor the Cedar Forest. In winter, the mountains are adorned with snow.