More than half a century before hummus became a default supermarket snack and well ahead of the advent of "fusion cuisine," Lebanese restaurateurs created their own hybrid style in Tulsa. A member of the founding generation, 90-year-old Don Abraham is one of the few who can shed light on how the Lebanese steakhouse came to be. He says it started with his uncle, Joe Abraham, who arrived to the U.S. in 1898. "Somebody beat him up, and he tried to get even with them. So my grandpa put him on a boat," Don says. With little more than a gift for making deals, Joe worked his way across the country, trading, buying, and selling whatever merchandise he could get his hands on, until he landed in Oklahoma, where he eventually became a millionaire. (Legend has it that the peddler in the musical Oklahoma, who was a similarly gifted salesman, was based on Joe.) When word of his success reached the old country, Don says, "like half the town wound up here." According to the 1900 census, when the area that would become Lebanon was still part of the Ottoman Empire, 100 "Syrians" lived in Oklahoma. By 1910, that doubled, and 1920 showed almost 700—in a place with fewer than 400,000 people.