Family, friends honor Hussein Khazaal's memory on Alki
Well over 100 friends, customers, and family attended a memorial for Phoenecia Restaurant owner Hussein Khazaal Friday night, Aug. 14. Khazaal passed away in his sleep one week prior. (See previous coverage here.)
The tribute took place on Alki Beach, just two blocks from his popular Middle Eastern restaurant. Khazaal was born and raised in southern Lenanon.
Khazaal's son William, his daughters Sonya and Nadia, in-laws and admirers recounted stories about their father that impacted their lives in positive ways, on a stage at the well-organized gathering of sweetness and sorrow.
Nadia recalled her father's reaction once she earned her masters degree.
"He told all the customers 'My daughter is now a doctor!' He tended to exaggerate at times," said Nadia with tears and a smile.
William recalled a customer entering the Phoenecia who appeared somewhat bedraggled.
"He sat down and stared at the menu for a long time, and finally ordered just coffee," said William. "It was obvious he did not have the money for a meal. My father noticed a violin in the man's pack and said, 'Today I would love to hear violin music. If you play for me I will make for you a huge feast.' And that's what happened."
Following speeches, lines of tables awaited the crowd with a variety of foods catered by area restaurant owners as a gift to Khazaal and his fans. The consensus from the speakers seemed to be that his restaurant had served delicious food but that Hussein Khazaal was the main ingredient.
The family has not decided if the restaurant will reopen.
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