Clarksville is home to several styles of great Southern cuisine, from soul to BBQ, but most restaurants are descended from Lebanese immigrants (including Roadfood icon Abe’s BBQ). Rest Haven is one of the few that actually serves Lebanese food, even if we wouldn’t actually call it a Lebanese restaurant. Aside from a section dedicated to “Lebanese Specialties,” the menu is indistinguishable from a classic country cafe. Decor and hospitality help to build small town diner atmosphere.
We arrived at breakfast time hankering for sunrise classics, which precluded tasting their Middle Eastern recipes … or so we thought. The menu offers a kibbie omelette! Kibbie is a fried ball of ground meat and bulghur wheat that is popular across the Levant, but especially in Lebanon. Kibbie can be hard to find, even in big cities. Having it in an omelette is something we’ve never considered, but why not? It’s not too far off from sausage. It’s Boudin from the Holy Land.
This kibbie is exceptional. Not too greasy or overly weighed down by bulgher, it fills out the thin, technically impressive omelette very nicely. Normally, we don’t chose American cheese in our omelette, but it’s the correct match for this spicy ground meat, and adds creamy, salty twang. Hash browns on the side aren’t our first choice (the last order of grits just went out the door), but we are glad to try them. They are fresh and crisp, a good match for ground meat.
We recommend getting to Rest Haven early. This is a true scratch kitchen family restaurant, and when they run out of morning biscuits, or even sausage, they are out until tomorrow. You might miss their sensationally good biscuits and gravy. We get the last order of the day, and it would have been a shame to miss such stellar country cooking. Who knows when we’ll be in in Clarksburg again?
French Toast is a delight as well. It’s generously eggy and subtly aromatized by cinnamon and vanilla. It’s a great side to share and is well complemented by fresh, hot coffee.