Beirut - At the "Buns and Guns" fast food restaurant, deep in Beirut's Hezbollah-dominated southern suburbs, the chefs wear military helmets, the food is wrapped in camouflage paper, and the motto is "a sandwich can kill you."
The restaurant opened three weeks ago, with a military theme that is drawing in a sector of Lebanese proud of Hezbollah's battlefield successes.
The restaurant is done up like a military outpost, located in the heart of a neighborhood heavily pounded by Israel during its 2006 war with the military group, which fought the Israeli military to a standstill.
Sandbags cover the exterior - a grim, and perhaps inadvertent, reminder of what Lebanon's government buildings looked like during the 1975-1990 civil war - and the interior is festooned with camouflage nets, defused mortar shells, and live ammunition.
"We thought at the beginning that it was a weapons store but later we discovered that it was actually a fast food restaurant," said customer Amr Nahas as he ordered a "magnum," a grilled chicken sandwich, with a side order of "grenades" or potato wedges.
"The sandwiches are really delicious," he added.
The restaurant's founding comes during a particularly tense period in Lebanese politics. Fighting between supporters of the government and the Hezbollah-led opposition in May killed 81 people and raising fears of a renewed civil war. It ended only after a political deal that gives Hezbollah and its allies a strong portion of a unity government.
"The idea came before all the clashes that happened in Lebanon," said co-owner Ali Hamoud to Associated Press Television News. "But in the end it (clashes) helped in advertising the restaurant."
While many Lebanese have been sickened by the renewed fighting - including clashes Monday in the north that claimed another eight lives - but many in the Hezbollah strongholds of south Beirut express pride in the movement's strength and gains.
"Establishing a military restaurant is a new fancy idea - there are people who like anything that deals with weapons," said one employee, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
He said that the restaurant has been doing brisk business since it opened, and said Hezbollah was not connected with the business. "Buns and Guns is a commercial enterprise that has nothing to do with politics."
Customers enter the restaurant under a sign bearing the restaurant's name - in English - and motto, "a sandwich can kill you," a reference to the large portions. Employees in military uniforms serve meals to the taped sounds of gunfire as "background music."
The glossy camouflaged menus feature burgers with names like "the mortar" and "the 155 mm howitzer," while grilled chicken sandwiches can be a "magnum" or a "rocket-propelled grenade."
A pizza topped with peppers, onions, mushrooms, olives, corn and tomatoes, meanwhile, is rather disturbingly named Claymore, referring to the devastating anti-personnel mines.
Lebanon's most common and popular weapon, the AK-47 Klashnikov assault rifle, is a beef steak sandwich served in long baguette-style bread.
Tags: Arms, fast food, Hezbollah, Lebanon, Restaurants, source: AP, Weapons, Ya Libnan