Beirut restaurant makes meal out of war

BEIRUT Tue Jul 1, 2008 4:38pm BST

1 of 9. A general view of the fast food restaurant 'Buns and Guns' in Beirut June 27, 2008. The restaurant with a military theme opened this month in the Hezbollah-controlled southern suburbs of the Lebanese capital. The restaurant's chef wears a military outfit and its customers sit behind a wall of sandbags. Food is served under the slogan 'a sandwich can kill you'.

Credit: Reuters/ Cynthia Karam

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BEIRUT (Reuters) - At "Buns and Guns" you can order a "Kalashnikov" sandwich from a bullet-shaped menu, prepared by chefs in military fatigues with the roar of explosions as background music.

This new fast food restaurant in Beirut's southern suburbs, where the Hezbollah movement holds sway, was the brainchild of co-owner Ali Hammoud. He said the war theme was a novel concept that had nothing to do with Lebanon's bloody recent history.

"It's just an idea I had, nothing more, nothing less. I could have put toys in place of the sandbags and teddy bears instead of guns. But it was just an idea," Hammoud told Reuters.

"You could say that the situation in the country made people pay attention," added Hammoud, sitting outside his restaurant, which has become popular with teenagers.

Guns, bullets and pictures of other weapons decorate the interior. The slogan "A sandwich can kill you", with a picture of a gun superimposed on a burger, is displayed outside.

Completing the war motif, sandbags surround the outdoor seating area. The menu features sandwiches and burgers with names such as "Terrorist meal" and "RPG", as well as "Kalashnikov".

"First time I came here, I thought it was a weapons shop. When I looked at the names of the dishes, I still thought so. I only realized it was a restaurant when I went inside," said 15-year-old Hussein al-Hajj Ali.

(Reporting by Reuters Television; editing by Keith Weir)

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