Saleh Bajalieh

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Saleh S. "Sol" Bajalieh (born November 18, 1947 in Palestine; died July 28, 2004 in Birmingham) was a restaurateur and founder of Sol's Sandwich Shop which operated in downtown Birmingham from 1968 to 1994.

Bajalieh and his oldest sister immigrated to the United States from Palestine in 1965. He took a job as a burger flipper at Kelly's Hamburgers on 1st Avenue North and later worked at Salem's Drive-In before opening his own restaurant in the John Hand Building.

He married the former Nadia Bajalia in 1971 and raised three sons, Jeff, Jason, and Chris, in their home in Crestwood. The boys helped out at their father's restaurant after school.

When the John Hand Building was vacated by AmSouth and sold to a group of investors, Sol's Sandwich Shop lost its lease. Bajalieh opened a new restaurant, the Garden Café in Columbiana, but it lasted only for a year. The Bajaliehs then began operating the "Break Room" cafeteria at U.S. Pipe & Foundry's pipe plant in North Birmingham.

Bajalieh died from a heart attack in 2004. In 2008 real estate broker Bill Arant pitched to his sons the idea of reopening Sol's Sandwich Shop at the newly-renovated Two North Twentieth building.

References

  • Carlton, Bob (September 30, 2016) "Meet the restaurant family that has fed Birmingham for a half-century." The Birmingham News