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Dining Out: Mediterranean Grill

Chef Abdel Karim Chhibbane said he plans to reopen Chef Karim's Mediterranean Grill at 333 N. Cotner Blvd., which he closed in October in order to sort out ownership issues.

Keep an eye out, Chef Karim is coming back.

At least Abdel Karim Chhibbane said he’s planning to reopen Chef Karim’s Mediterranean Grill at 333 N. Cotner Blvd, maybe as soon as next week.

In a phone interview, Chhibbane said he closed the grill in mid-October -- a little more than four months after opening it -- after a falling out with his business partner.

“I didn’t get along with my business partner, and that’s it,” he said.

Chhibbane now is majority owner, he said, and he plans to run the restaurant like the one he had for 18 years in Santa Barbara, California, with an emphasis on food quality and service. Chhibbane has spent more than 40 years working in the industry, with 30-plus years as an executive chef.

“I love Lincoln, and that’s a big reason why I’m still here,” he said.

The restaurant made a splash on Lincoln’s dining scene when it opened in June, emphasizing a fine dining experience in a gorgeous setting, which included ornate tile floors, cherry wood furnishings accented with gold trim, stained glass light fixtures and white tablecloths.

Chhibbane said he will make some minor changes. The biggest will be lunch service, running from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday to go along with dinner, which begins at 5 p.m. The restaurant also had offered Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“After that, I want to add breakfast,” he said.

His menu, which featured takes on steak, pork, chicken and seafood, will stay the same. He will, however, offer a specialty Moroccan menu more frequently. His plan is to make that available every other Friday.

Other changes will come about gradually, including a new phone number, website and more. I’ll pass along that information as I get it. For now, we’ll keep our fingers crossed that the restaurant is ready to open next week.

‘Breakfast With Santa’

The Lincoln Haymarket Development Corp. will host “Breakfast With Santa” from 8 to 11 a.m. on Saturday in the Atrium of the Candy Factory, between Seventh and Eighth streets on P Street.

The event will start with breakfast catered by Lazlo's, coffee from The Mill and holiday music provided by pianist Dorothy Applebee. Children and their families will be able to have their picture taken with Santa and visit Santa’s Sleigh & Reindeer parked outside.

Tickets are $6 for ages 4 years and up; admission is free for children 3 years and under. Advanced ticket purchases are encouraged and are available at the following locations: The Mill (Haymarket), From Nebraska Gift Shop, Burlington Antiques, The Haymarket Office, Buzzard Billy’s and Downtown Lincoln Association. Tickets may be purchased at the door, while they last.

Granite City reopening

Granite City Food & Brewery will reopen on Dec. 14 at 6200 O St. The brew pub, which has been closed since mid-September, built a new restaurant just a few feet from the original one, which was torn down to make way for expansion of Gateway Mall to accommodate a new Dick’s Sporting Goods. The new, free-standing restaurant will seat 272 guests.

Open on Christmas?

Each year, I receive emails from readers inquiring about which restaurants are open on Christmas, and I direct them to Metro Dining Delivery, where owner David Welch compiles a comprehensive (and impressive) list. If you’re looking to dine out on Christmas Day, check out Metro’s website -- metrodiningdelivery.com -- a few days before the holiday to see what’s open. We’ll also link to it from our website.

Next Jeff’s Top Five

The holidays are known for sweets, so it’s the perfect time to share my favorites places for dessert. I want to know where you like to go for pie, cake and more. Check out our survey beginning Friday and vote.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7213 or jkorbelik@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSjeffkorbelik.

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Features editor

Jeff Korbelik is the features editor and covers dining, performing arts, TV and local media. Follow him at @LJSjeffkorbelik.

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