On the Line: Walid Alarja Of D'Vine

While Downtown Fullerton may be known as a drunken party atmosphere, places like D'Vine defy the stereotype. We spent this week with the talented Walid Alarja, learning how his brand came to be.

Where does the name come from? Lena and I wanted something that represented our family heritage of food and culture. The Vine was the original name idea, and actually was recorded that way. When she picked up her kids from school to announce that "The Vine was official", her son misheard her and said, "D'Vine?". That's how the story goes of how we got the name.

Best culinary tip for the home cook: To be prepared, organized and, most importantly, have the passion to cook.

You're making breakfast; what are you having? Our traditional breakfast, which consists of fool, hummus, falafel, labne, boiled eggs, olives, olive oil and zaatar. And of course, the pita bread!

Where did you grow up? If you're not from Orange County, what brought you here? Bethlehem. I followed my children here to the United States for their schooling. It was the best decision I ever made, as Orange County has become my new home and I love the area and new friends now in my life.

How did you and Lena meet, and when did you realize that working together on D'Vine made sense? She was a customer of mine at my first location, and I asked her to help me find other locations to open (knowing she was in real estate). When she showed me the Brea location, we began talking about ways we could partner and grow the brand. It takes a team to work in the industry, and we work very well together by combining our unique skills.

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