New Montrose Restaurant

Popular Lebanese bakery shakes up prime Montrose location with Mediterranean tapas

Popular Lebanese bakery bringing Mediterranean tapas to Montrose

Byzantio Greek restaurant exterior
Cedars Tapas Bar will open later this year. Photo by Eric Sandler

A prime Montrose location is getting new life thanks to a family with a long history in the restaurant industry.

The owners of Cedars Bakery will open a new restaurant in the space at 403 W. Gray that was formerly Byzantio and briefly Viking-themed restaurant Ship & Shield. Dubbed Cedars Tapas Bar, the new restaurant will serve a variety of Mediterranean-inspired small plates for lunch, brunch, and dinner. 

Owner Sam Assi tells CultureMap that his annual trips to Lebanon inspired the new concept, which he intends to be a step up in terms of quality and presentation from the mostly cafeteria-style Mediterranean restaurants that have become popular across the city. The concept expands on the reputation Cedars has built over 20 years for its freshly baked pita bread and Lebanese dishes.

“Basically, [we want] to make it more like a tapas place in terms of high quality food and the presentation of food,” Assi says. “I want the place to be somewhere people can hang out with a couple friends and enjoy their time, basically.”

While the menu is still a work in progress, Assi says it will offer dishes influenced by Lebanese, Greek, Turkish, and even Spanish cuisine. He says he’s specifically excited about mini-lamb chops that he thinks will be a signature item.

Other plans include a creating a lounge atmosphere with a DJ on Friday and Saturday nights and a champagne brunch with an all-day happy hour on Sundays. The restaurant will offer a full range of beer, wine, and spirits.

Local developer Braun Enterprises leased the building to Cedars, which will share parking with its development next door that includes a veterinary clinic and a quick serve Vietnamese restaurant. Leasing director Zach Wolf tells CultureMap that they’re looking forward to working with the Assi family.

“We have known about Cedars Bakery for years and have always been fans,” Wolf says. “Sam was very passionate about his concept, and we love working with experienced operators.”

Estimating the receipt of permits and a liquor license can be tricky, but Assi would like to be open by late April or early May. As longtime friends of the family that owned Byzantio, he’s excited about the prospect of bringing Mediterranean cuisine back to the neighborhood.

“We love the area. My dad loves that spot. I feel comfortable in that spot,” Assi says. “We figured we can fix everything inside and make it look nice.”