Our Family History in Takoma Park, MD

The Hishmeh brothers arrived to the United States in the early 1970’s from Ramallah, Palestine. While bringing along a few possessions, they also brought their entrepreneurship and hard working spirits as they followed the American dream.

Their first endeavor here in Takoma Park was the opening of The Electric Maid, which occupied the space that is now Mark’s Kitchen. Located beside The Electric Maid was an American bakery the Hishmeh brothers also worked for. As they continued working hard, they later acquired that bakery. They converted it into one of the first Middle Eastern bakeries in the metropolitan area to bake fresh Pita.

As their success continued, they decided to sell The Electric Maid and expand the bakery into a retail location in 1982. By doing so they were providing the neighborhood with a place to get various olives, cheeses, and dry goods. Starting their wholesale business called Middle East Market. As times changed, the market for Mediterranean food became more competitive, so they decide to open a Middle Eastern restaurant.

In October of 2001 The Middle Eastern Cuisine was opened. Having restaurant experience and ties to wholesalers, the restaurant was an immediate success and welcomed dearly by the neighborhood. Throughout the process of opening, operating, and selling businesses, The Hishmeh brothers passed along their skills and dedication to their sons. As they learned the ropes of the restaurant business, the sons decided Takoma Park needed a night life.

In 2008 the Middle Eastern Cuisine was expanded into The Olive Lounge. This was the area’s only bar at the time for patrons to drink, watch the game or debates, and have some traditional and non-traditional pub fare in the neighborhood.

We Thank You All For Our Success And Your Continued Support.