There’s a Sunoco station in Olmsted Falls, Ohio, just outside of Cleveland, where you can fill up on more than just gas. In the connected deli, Muntaha Dari churns out fresh, hand-made hummus weekly that’s so good it’s garnered its own following.
At first, Muntaha’s son Khalil, who owns the gas station and deli, was skeptical about adding his mom’s hummus to the menu, but she persisted. “Everybody loves hummus,” she said.
Dari began making 15 to 20 eight-ounce containers a week of her now famous Mama Mary’s Hummus, and her hunch was quickly proven right. Nearly six years later, she makes 1,500 containers a week in 13 different flavors, not including her seasonal offerings.
For the first four years, Dari worked on her own, but now has help packaging. She still does all the mixing herself though, because as she will tell you, “I don’t have a recipe.” As a Palestinian-American, she grew up learning from her mother and tweaked as she went along. “I’m old school,” she explained. “I learned visually.”
Fans travel from as far as Tennessee to purchase a tub. Her dill pickle hummus is currently the most popular, just edging out the roasted red pepper. Word of mouth and popularity on food forums provide free advertising, and she was honored as part of Cleveland Magazine’s Best in Cleveland in 2018.
She recently began selling to farmers’ markets in the area. And though she has no immediate plans to expand beyond that as of now, she has not ruled out changing her mind. Until then, a road trip down I-80 will serve travelers well, both for their gas tank and stomach.
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