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Mad Shawarma Mediterranean restaurant closes after a year

Mad Shawarma Mediterranean restaurant closes after a year

Mad Shawarma exterior

Mad Shawarma was in the former Lola's Cafe on Junction Road in a strip mall with lots of other restaurants.

Mad Shawarma, a casual Mediterranean restaurant on Madison's Far West Side, has closed after a year.

Mohammad Kalboneh said he had trouble finding employees who knew about Mediterranean food. He said he had plans to expand the menu and open a second location, but had to abandon them.

"We're sad it had to be like that," Kalboneh said. "We'll see how the future plays out, maybe we'll try again."

Kalboneh opened Mad Shawarma at 610 Junction Road in September 2018 because he saw a need for a Madison restaurant focused on shawarma.

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So with no restaurant experience, but with the help of family and friends, Kalboneh took it upon himself to serve the Mediterranean meat wrapped in pita or in traditional flatbread, saj bread, made by his mother.

Similar to gyros, shawarma is chicken or beef and lamb cooked on a vertical rotisserie, where it spins before getting shaved off.

Kalboneh, 36, who's Palestinian, moved to Madison in 2004. He works by day as a software engineer.

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Before Mad Shawarma, the location was home to Lola's Cafe.

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