Fady Chamoun knows the value of good advice. Fady, a Maronite Catholic, left Lebanon in 1972 at age 19 to seek a degree in engineering at the University of Michigan. But while in college, he worked at a Little Caesar’s pizza shop and fell in love with the business. He worked his way up from dishwasher to franchise supervisor, opening 50 shops in Cleveland and Youngstown in the 1970s. Spotting a new opportunity with his wife Sally, Fady opened a Lebanese cuisine restaurant in Lakewood in 1994 called Aladdin’s Eatery. Bringing Middle Eastern food to Americans has paid off, with 40 Aladdin’s locations in four states.
Fady first learned about Saint Ignatius when his sons were at Saint Raphael grade school. “I heard that Saint Ignatius is the best school in the area,” he says. “They learn to be Men for Others.” As an immigrant father trying to build a business, Fady knew his time with his sons would be limited. “Thank God Saint Ignatius filled the balance. What I missed teaching them, they learned there.”
Fady’s son Fares '97 remembers being surrounded by people he respected and learning to work hard to keep up. He thrived both academically and spiritually. “Fr. Ober was a real influence. He was funny, but strict and loveable. He was a great leader and inspired me to be the same,” recalls Fares.
When his father opened the first Aladdin’s, several priests and teachers loved it and made Fares feel like a star on campus. On the way home from track practices, his father had him bring fellow students to eat at Aladdin’s. Soon students and parents were turning up on the weekends and helping the Lakewood restaurant take off.
After Boston College, Fares worked for Deloitte in Boston before returning to work with his father and help the business more than double during the past 12 years. Fares is President of Aladdin’s and co-owner with his father and brother.
Fady’s younger son Paul ’04 remembers feeling part of the Saint Ignatius community since his first days. “I was always pretty social but this really elevated it and helped me grow, meeting friends from different neighborhoods and upbringings. I liked the Christian focus, the choir lessons from Fr. Guiao, and I was always into Kairos retreats.” Paul studied business at The Ohio State University and is now Director of Operations for the family’s Seasoned Brands Inc.
Fady decided the time was right for his family to get more involved with Saint Ignatius; business is doing well, children are grown, a grandson wants to attend the school, and they opened the new Boaz Café in Ohio City. The Chamoun family recently made a gift of $60,000 to support the new Campus South Athletic Complex.
“I am so proud of this high school and what they’ve done for the students and the community. When we found out they needed to do the field, we jumped on it,” says Fady.
His sons agreed. “We’re at a place where we’re able to give back and that’s really cool,” says Paul. “We’re blessed.”