Update: Funeral, memorial celebration set for Phoenecia owner

New information tonight from William Khazaal, son of Phoenecia at Alki restaurant owner Hussein Khazaal, who died suddenly over the weekend at age 63 (here’s our Sunday report, with dozens of memories and tributes in its comment section). William says his father’s funeral will be at noon tomorrow at House of Mercy in Covington (15004 SE 256th; map), and there will be a memorial celebration on Alki — with food — in the grassy area by the Bathhouse, right across from Phoenecia, this Friday night at 6:30; the family says the public is welcome at both events. Friday is a day when Mr. Khazaal’s family had hoped to be celebrating something very different: William says that would have been his father and mother’s 40th wedding anniversary.

20 Replies to "Update: Funeral, memorial celebration set for Phoenecia owner"

  • CindySeattle August 10, 2009 (6:27 pm)

    I will miss knowing he is there working to keep us all well fed. My husband and I will be part of the Alki celebration of a kind and gracious man.

  • Marty Mjelleli August 10, 2009 (7:26 pm)

    I have known the Khazaal’s most of my life. Words can’t describe how I feel at this moment. Hussein was the MOST honest, caring individual that I have ever known in my life. He always put God first, put others before him, and always instilled values.

    At least once or twice a week I would stop and visit Hussein preparing the “special dinner” menu that he was so proud to present to all of the people throughout West Seattle, Seattle, the Northwest, the US, as well as the rest of the world.

    Often he would make a suprise appearance to my home or to the construction site in the Alki area. He had me “test” the current pita bread sandwich. For the past 10 years that he has done this for me, my family, or friends, surprisingly the sandwich passed the taste test each and every time.

    I will truely miss Hussein. But one thing that I will always cherish are the fantastic memories that he and his wonderful family have given me!

    God Bless You Hussein, and your family.
    Marty Mjelleli

  • Gene Belcher August 10, 2009 (7:32 pm)

    My deepest sympathies go out to the family. Hussein was, perhaps, the nicest man in Seattle. I will miss his kindness and of course his food.

  • Lisette August 10, 2009 (7:47 pm)

    My condolences to the friends and family of Mr. Khazaal. I have fond memories of Phoenicia and am saddened by the news of this sudden loss. He was so nice, friendly and had an aura of happiness. To the family: may you find peace.

  • Ron Theofelis August 11, 2009 (3:06 am)

    I will always be thankful for being fortunate enough to have met Mr. Khazaal. His boundless generosity, sheer joy and exuberance will stay with me forever. I will hold in my heart the memory of the unquenchable fire in his eyes that fueled his desire to feed the world. I will miss my friend Hussein.

  • Mario & Marty Mjelleli August 11, 2009 (8:14 am)

    Your family will be in our thoughts and prayers. All our best!

  • Cammer August 11, 2009 (9:37 am)

    My wife and I have fond memories of eating at Phoenecia and enjoying Mr. Khazaal’s company. He had a generous personality and we will miss him. Our condolences to his family and friends.

  • Meghan August 11, 2009 (1:04 pm)

    I was so upset to hear of Hussein’s sudden passing. Whenever I had friends in town who I knew would really enjoy an authentic meal served and fussed over like you were dining in someone’s home, I would take them to Phoenicia. And there would be Hussein making sure we had the very best food and wine he had to offer that evening. What a loss.

  • Meade Thayer August 11, 2009 (3:35 pm)

    What a terrible loss. My first dinner on Alki some ten years ago was at Phoenicia, and the warm welcome Hussein provided made me feel great about moving to the area. His warm and generous spirit caused me to bring all of my out-of-town friends to Phoenicia, and his style was the epitome of what a family restaurant was all about.

    Hussein, we will miss you terribly. My thoughts are with your family.

  • Maria August 11, 2009 (4:40 pm)

    Hussein was a talented restaurateur – I always felt special at the Phoenicia and loved celebrating special occasions there. He will be missed.

  • diane August 11, 2009 (4:55 pm)

    Hussein was important to our community. He made people feel special out of a very genuine and very gracious love he seemed to hold for them. He transported one from an experience of just dinning out, to the privilege of being a guest, and we were all so fortunate to be his guest. He will be so very missed. Our clinic held our special events at Hussein’s. He was so much a part of what made them special, and our holidays won’t be the same without him.

  • Bridget August 12, 2009 (3:31 am)

    I have fond memories of sharing big family meals hosted so warmly by Hussein when I came to Seattle to visit my dad and family. The many wonderful dishes seemed endless and were only out numbered by Hussein’sf smiles and kind words.

    Love and prayers to his family… Hussen will be missed.

  • Shannon Holt August 12, 2009 (10:39 am)

    We were so sad to hear of Hussein’s passing when we stopped by for coffee and baklava yesterday afternoon. We first visited Phoenicia nine years ago and enjoyed many special occasions there with Hussein…board meeting dinners, engagement parties, dates, gatherings with friends and family…many happy memories were made in his company! Hussein never forgot a face, never failed to ask about the family and ALWAYS made everyone feel extra special. I loved his smile, his enthusiasm for his work (HIS FOOD!) and his love for his family. My husband and I haven’t made it to Phoenecia much over the past couple of years because we had two babies, but whenever I ran into Hussein (which seemed to happen often!) in West Seattle or at Costco, he would always say that he understood and then BEAM while he told me about his grandbabies. I know that he will be greatly miseed by many. He will definitely be missed by us. We will be keeping his family in our prayers.

  • Tonya August 12, 2009 (12:08 pm)

    My prayers go out to the family.


  • Rocky August 12, 2009 (5:56 pm)

    I am so saddened by this. I started going to the Phoenecia back on new years of this past year. I took my ex there in hopes we could reconnect, though this did not happen. I went there again after that because this was the last place we were together it had formed nostalgic memories. Though sad, Hussein welcomed me with a smile and hand shake; “my friend, come in how are you? Where is your friend?” I told him I was alone. He told me not to worry, I have something special for you my friend (The reassurance he gave me of still having a friend is what I needed. I could cry right now remembering how I felt). And sat me in front of the window right center (You know, no matter how sad I was all I could do is smile from this mans kindness. He is truely one of a kind, one we can all learn from). He came back and we started to talk. His pleaset conversation and Demeanor changed my evening that had been pre-planned to be a nostalgic & saddened one into a monthly tradition to converse with a new friend.

    People come and go, but true friends are ones to hold on to. I’ll miss you hussein, you my friend are a true one and we’ll all hold on to you =)

  • Shannon and Kelly August 12, 2009 (8:39 pm)

    This is an email from my sister in Maine when I told her about Hussein’s death. Had to share it. “Oh, that is so sad! I absolutely do remember him. I loved our trip to the Phoenicia. It felt like we were guests visiting his home– he made us so welcome and remembered that you loved his chicken in the big pot. You were on the Clomid and Metformin (spelling?) and I believe it was the only meal I saw you finish when I visited. I think of the heady rose water ice cream he made and the flatbread that he sent home for us to snack on the next day. I also remember him telling us how special his daughter was to him and how proud he was of her. I’m sad for his family. He had such a generous heart.”

  • Paige Stockley August 12, 2009 (10:43 pm)

    Hussein and his family made the food for our wedding in 2002, drove the lamb all the way to Hood Canal, and enchanted our amazed guests with tuscan bread salad, meze, delicious salads, and of course his world famous rose scented middle eastern pastries we have all come to crave and love, washed down with that delicious turkish coffee. That was near the beginning of our cherished friendship with Hussein. A man close to our hearts, who embraced us like one of his own, invited us to his daughter’s wedding, celebrated with us at the birth of our daughter Daisy (same age as his first grandchild), and welcomed us like family at the many many many special and just regular occasions we would return to his restaurant …. he spoiled us with our special favorites: seared ahi tuna with a fresh marjoram/jalapeno paste, the calamari with pomegranate, lamb with eggplant, and then the delectable turkish coffee and rose scented pastries. Hussein’s twinkling brown eyes, the gentle questions, the secret smile, the pride in what he knew was most probably the best food in all of Seattle, the proudly displayed photos of his cherished family, his children and their children eating at a nearby table……Hussein and his restaurant was our most special retreat, our own private home away from home. I cannot bear the thought that we will not see our dear Hussein again, it just cannot be. What words of wisdom would he have for us now….my love to all the family and you know we share in your grief. My father, the Seattle Times wine critic, Tom Stockley died at the same age of 63, ten years ago this January, in the Alaska Airlines #261 crash. Hussein knew this, and always had very profound words to share for me as I dealt with my grief at losing my father, someone who he knew through the food and wine world. How ironic that he would die at the same age. Dear Hussein. How we miss you so.
    With much love, Paige Stockley and Steve Lerner and 4 year old Daisy.

  • Susan Madden August 14, 2009 (2:58 am)

    I can’t begin to count the times since 1978 or so visiting with Hussein and Inaam, always greeted with hugs and bottomless warmth. Many nights we would close the place with some special sips from the back room….from surprise birthday dinners to various dates (Hussein would always embarrass me ever so sweetly by asking, “so, is this the one?”), it was such a delight to share the experience of Phoenecia. My taste buds are working overtime right now, hoping to savor every delicious memory. Pomegranate dressing, borek, Sidi Brahim wine, oh, how can he be gone?? My heart aches tonight with this news. A toast to you, dear man, and my thoughts are with your beloved family. Susan Madden

  • Dow August 14, 2009 (7:50 am)

    Hussein was a rare man, and a bright presence along the neighborhood busisness strip. Always enthusiastic, personal, caring. Always someone with whom to exchange a wave or a pleasant word. You wanted to go past Phoenecia even if you weren’t going in to Phoenecia, just for the reassuring greeting. Reminded me, in a way, of a number of other West Seattle businesspeople who have defined their place and time in our community. Virg Sheppard, for instance. When his pharmacy was on the corner of California and Admiral, he was the mayor and the visitors’ bureau of that corner. So many others. Time moves on. Community and basic human decency persist.

  • Dimitris and Anne Angelou August 14, 2009 (3:26 pm)

    We are very sad to hear that we have lost Hussein, at least physically. He will live on in our hearts and memories. Dimitri and I first met him and the family at the West Seattle junction. The food was phenomenal but moreso was his kindness, gentleness, and warm smile. We followed the restaurant wherever it went, Hansen Baking Company and then Alki. What a lovely, kind, sweet man he is/was; it was a privilege and pleasure to know him. We will be at the gathering tonight. Love and blessings to all the family. God bless you. We are grateful that he was a blessing in our lives. Anne and Dimitris Angelou

    He proudly took us on a tour of the kitchen once to show us how organized and clean it was. How many restaurant owners would do that today? I hope we all have a big lesson about how to be a kind and generous human being from knowing this wonderful man.

Sorry, comment time is over.