Saturday, January 31, 2015

Falafel Hummus & Juice Bar in Fishtown

The sweetest man alive owns and operates this place. The food is wonderful and fresh, but it is the way the owner makes you feel that will keep you coming back. When Nicole and I first walked in, I made a point of saying it was our first time. I didn't want to feel rushed when looking over the menu. The owner left us to decide and then appeared with a small plate of samples for us to try - no charge. He just wanted us to get a feel for some of the options that his place of business offered. After we gave him our order, I asked if I paid now or after we ate. He said, "You pay after. If you don't like, you don't pay." This is a man that knows his food is fantastic enough to throw out a guarantee like that. I doubt anyone has ever taken him up on it.

I think what impressed me the most about this establishment was how unbelievably clean the kitchen was; the entire place was, but especially the kitchen. After watching one too many Restaurant: Impossible episodes, I tend to notice the cleanliness, or lack thereof, when dining out. The set up at Falafel Hummus is basically a re-purposed row home in Philly that was gutted and made into an open kitchen in the back half and the front half into a small seating area. While I was getting rung up at the register, I peered into the kitchen and you could, no lie, put food on the floor and eat off it. There were no clumps of gooey food that fell to the floor and wrapped themselves around the base of the fridge or the legs of the sink. No scuff marks on the tiled floor or dust collecting on the ceiling or around the exhaust fans. It was so comforting to know that there exists a small, independently run eatery that takes themselves seriously and maintains a clean and healthy establishment.

I tried to sneak a peek and watch as he prepared our food. It was as if we were guests in his home, except that he wore plastic gloves. He made each meal with precision and great care. He remembered that I was a vegan and left the cheese off of my side salad. He did the same for Nicole in regards to her dislike of tomatoes. It's so easy in the food industry to go into robot mode and forget what the customer mentioned and just make the food as you do time and time again. It's not on purpose; it just happens. Not this man. He seemed to genuinely place love and pride on each beautifully ornate dish he served. It was a delightful experience from start to finish and I can't friggin' wait to go back!!

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