There are several names that are popular in the Greater Utica-Rome area that some people battle over the pronunciation of. For example, former Congressman Anthony Brindisi's last name has taken many forms over the years and our very own Bill Keeler has even had his name mispronounced. But, one local family who happens to own a very popular Lebanese restaurant has been the source of heated battle for years.

While promoting a brand new 'quick service' restaurant coming to the Men's Warehouse Plaza in New Hartford, Elias Zeina of the Zeina's family restaurant on Varick Street finally put the argument to bed. Keeler introduced Elias and in that introduction used his last name frequently. When the intro was finished, Elias began to speak about his family's new venture and happened to reintroduce himself with the PROPER pronunciation. It just so happens that it was the way I have been saying it for years and even argued with people about. Now, reading the account of what happened isn't anywhere near the same as hearing it, so I will provide the correct pronunciation phonetically.

INCORRECT VERSION: (ZEE-NUH's) - This version sounds like the last name of wrestler John Cena (SEE-NUH), or 'Xena the Warrior Princess.'

CORRECT VERSION: (ZEI-NUH) - In case that is not helping, think of the ZEI as rhyming with DRY. The NUH naturally stays the same.

For too long I have had to deal with others lecturing me on my correct pronunciation and today I feel vindicated. I think I'll celebrate by stopping by their new location in New Hartford.

Lafa Mediterranean by Zeina's opens Monday, March 1st, 2021 at the location where the old 'Five Guys' and 'Wing Stop' used to call home. You won't regret the quick style meal options this legendary family will provide and they're sure to never disappoint. Don't just support local, support local because it's good. (ZEI-NUH's) is amazing.

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