Emily’s Deli: A Holiday Tradition

In-Focus | Published November 16, 2023


ST. CLAIR SHORES — Neighborhood places come and go all the time.  New spots to eat open and close, sometimes before the residents really even get a chance to know the owners.

That’s definitely not the case at Emily’s, the “Home of the Meat Pie.” The Lebanese carry out delicatessen on Mack, south of Nine Mile Road, has been a neighborhood favorite for over 50 years.

“Everything here is my mom’s recipes,” said Sam Hakim Sr., whose family still prepares the food fresh each day, using the same recipes and ingredients.  “The meat pies, the spinach pies. We make raw and baked kibbee, lots of grape leaves and lots of hummus and tabbouleh. Everything is the same.” The recipe for success, he said, has been consistency and familiarity. “When we started back then, everything, every region, Lebanon, Italy, they all had their way that things were supposed to taste,” Sam said. “Our recipes are very consistent, the same spices. Everybody has a different way to do things. Our longevity is due to good food, good service and the family being here all the time. It’s just the basic things.”

Consistency and familiarity goes for the food, and the customers at Emily’s. New patrons show up all the time, thanks to the food’s reputation, but each day brings back familiar faces who stop in for lunch, drop by for a few meat pies—with just the right amount of spiced lamb, onions, pine nuts and lemon-- when they’re back in town, or pick up an order for an office meeting or family gathering. “If you’re a young kid, you’ve been coming here since you were 10 years old,” Sam said. “When you come back to visit your family in St. Clair Shores or Grosse Pointe, wherever you’re going, one of your first stops is here. It happens all the time.” Sam would know. He’s been at Emily’s since day one, working with his mother, and now alongside his son, Sam Jr.

“He learned everything from my mother,” Sam Sr. said. “She taught him what to make and how to cook. He’s absolutely terrific.”

Emily’s is located at 22205 Mack in St. Clair Shores and is open seven days. Regular hours are 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. 

Special orders are available on request.  Emily’s also stocks a variety of mid-eastern groceries including imported cheeses, nuts and sweets.

To place an order or for more information, call (586) 777-2256.