Shawarma King - Fadel

Shawarma King - Fadel

Shawarma King

Owner: Fadel Houseini
Neighbourhood: Centretown
395 Banks St, Ottawa, ON K2P1Y3, Canada

Interview + Photography: Marianne Rothbauer, Rothbauer Studio


Tell us a bit about your yourself and your professional background. What led you to where you are now?

My name is Fadel and I'm 28 years old. Before Shawarma King, I was a Senior Manager at J.P Morgan Chase Canada. I have spent my entire career in banking until I met my partner at Shawarma King which led to me to become a partner here. I still currently do some banking work mainly in the disaster recovery for Scotia bank. 

When did Shawarma King open its doors and approximately how many Shawarmas have you sold to date?

We opened in 1997 and I can comfortably say that we have sold over a million shawarma's to date :) On weekends we can do up to 500 a day. YES THAT MANY PEOPLE ACTUALLY COME HERE.

What is your favourite item on the menu?

Not easy to decide, but if I'm hungry...Gotta go with a mixed plate.


What do you love most about living in Ottawa?

I love Ottawa due to its perfect size. It isn't too big and crowded but at the same time it isn't too small of a city either. Also, it is the Shawarma capital of the world which is awesome! There are so many cultures that are expressed in Ottawa and it's a great place for people to live in harmony.  

What does a typical work day look like for you?

When I'm working at Scotiabank, I usually work 8am to 4:30pm. Afterwards, I head to Shawarma King and work until 2 to 4 am, depending on the day.

Those are some long days, how to do spend your days off?

Days off? Not sure what that means...Ha! I spend my time with my son who is 10 months old as well as continue to train (that is what keeps me sane)


What drew you to this location?

Lots of foot traffic, we are close to tourist attractions and of course tons of pubs and night life.

What is your favourite part about your job?

Watching happy smiling faces leaving my restaurant with a full stomach. Also, I'll get to meet people from all walks of life and it's a great place to network and meet incredible people.

How do you unwind at the end of the day?

Weight lifting, Kickboxing and Stock Market analysis.

Who inspires you?

Arnold Schwarzenegger is at the top of my list and I try to adhere to his 6 rules of success very strictly. On a business level, it would be Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of J.P Morgan Chase Bank. I happen to think he is one of the most influential Executives of the last decade and an incredible person to learn from. In 2007, Jamie was proclaimed as America's Banker of last resort.


What are your goals for the restaurant in the future?

We would love to expand and operate a few locations. Perhaps even franchise. However, the 395 Bank Street location will always remain the true King.

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