HFC alumnus opens Noah’s Smokehouse in Dearborn
After he was laid off from his job as an MRI technologist, HFC alumnus Noah Saleh went back to his first love: Cooking.
Recently, the lifelong Dearborn resident opened Noah’s Smokehouse, at 940 Monroe in Dearborn, which he co-owns with Dr. Mohamed Elgahmi of Dearborn.
“Cooking has always been my passion,” said Saleh. “It’s been my hobby since I was a kid. I started cooking at my parents’ home in the backyard. I grilled ribs, brisket, burgers, chicken, you name it.”
From the medical field to the restaurant biz
A 2008 alumnus of Fordson High School in Dearborn, Saleh graduated from HFC in 2014 with an associate degree in science. Through Ascension Hospital in Southfield (formerly Providence Hospital), he is a certified X-Ray and MRI technologist. He is married to Laila Elamri, a 2017 HFC alumna, who works as a nurse. Together, they have four children.
From an early age, Saleh knew he wanted to work in the medical field in some capacity. He was also fascinated with photography, so he merged the two.
“In a sense, you’re the doctor’s eyes with radiology imaging,” he said.
For two years, he was an MRI technologist, until he was laid off due to budget cuts.
While interviewing for various jobs in the same field, Saleh decided to open his own restaurant.
Halal, southern-style slow-cooked BBQ with a western motif
“What better time to dive into what I love doing the most? I went into this head first,” said Saleh. “It’s been a roller coaster ride, that’s for sure.”
Rather than open another Middle-Eastern restaurant in Dearborn, Saleh decided to open up his own barbecue place. It is the only barbecue restaurant in Dearborn. What really makes it unique is that it’s owned by someone of Arabic descent, features halal southern style slow-cooked barbecue, and has a western motif.
“It’s my passion to barbecue. It’s a cuisine everyone can relate to – it doesn’t matter what country you’re from – barbecue is straight-up wood fire and meat,” he said.
No short-cuts to quality
At Noah’s, the meat speaks for itself. It’s slow-cooked daily, beginning overnight. According to Saleh, the cooks work around the clock, so there is always someone manning the restaurant. More wood is thrown into the fire every 30 minutes.
“There’s no short cuts at Noah’s. We take our time. We put in the work, cooking the meat for a long time, and we wait patiently,” said Saleh. “We worry about quality the most. We let the quality stand out. Whatever we have left over at the end of the day, we’ll donate it to a homeless shelter so it doesn’t go to waste.”
Some of the food at Noah’s includes fresh beef brisket, short ribs, sausage, lamb, chicken, and burgers. Side dishes include mac and cheese, steak-cut fries, cornbread, potato salad, coleslaw, and baked beans. A variety of condiments, including several BBQ sauces, are available.
“We serve classic brisket. We have no secret sauce, just straight-up salt and pepper. We want people to taste the meat rather than the dry rub that goes into it,” said Saleh. “The burgers are cooked on a wood grill to give them that backyard taste.”
There are also flatbreads and salads, a Whippersnappers menu for kids, and appetizers that include smoked samosas, smokehouse chili, hickory hummus, smoked BBQ wings, and loaded steak-cut fries with melted Gouda cheese, brisket, and scallions.
A unique look
“The rustic western look is unique in Dearborn,” he said. “The restaurant is in a spacious building that’s designed for people to have an experience and create an ambience so they enjoy being here. We want them to have a great experience. This is the kind of place where they can kick back after work and have a delicious meal.”
It is Noah's mission to improve the Smokehouse daily. Since the restaurant is still in its infancy, Saleh and his staff have to adjust to the shortcomings and iron out the kinks.
“We have to meet the customers’ needs and wants,” he said. “I enjoy interacting with customers. I enjoy hearing that they had a nice meal and experience and seeing them walk out of here happy. It’s really great to see them come back.”
A full plate
There are no plans to open another location. For now, Saleh has a full plate. On top of his duties at the restaurant, he’s currently working part-time as an MRI technologist, and is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Siena Heights University.
“I’ll do it all for as long as I can,” he said. “I’m glad I have options for the future.”
He has fond memories of attending HFC.
“I really enjoyed my time at the College,” said Saleh. “I enjoyed the convenience of it being in Dearborn. It’s a nice community college that allows you to juggle work and school at the same time. The staff members are very helpful and friendly. It is easily accessible when choosing classes. I got a good education there, and so did my wife."
Check out the menu and plan for a tasty meal at NoahsSmokehouse.com. (313) 768-5700, 940 Monroe St., Dearborn, MI 48124.