Regional chainlet gives local weather-conscious Israeli street food

Shouk’s hummus plate with falafel (remaining) and mushroom shawarma pita. Picture by Lindsey Max

With their fast-informal restaurant chain Shouk, small business partners Ran Nussbacher and chef Dennis Friedman are wanting to struggle local climate alter a person flavor-packed veggie burger at a time. The third spot of Shouk, which specializes in kosher, halal, plant-primarily based, vegan Israeli road meals, opened in Rockville’s Montrose Searching Center in November (the other two are in D.C.). A fourth location, on Westbard Avenue in Bethesda, is thanks to open imminently.

The 2,000-square-foot Rockville room seats 20 inside and 12 outdoors. The design—a weathered search with corrugated metal, reclaimed plank wood and mismatched furniture—is meant to evoke food stuff stalls in Center Japanese markets. (Shouk signifies “market” in Hebrew.) The menu capabilities stuffed pitas and bowl versions of them, hummus, salads, and cardamom chocolate cookies, baked or in dough kind.

The Rockville area is really captivating to Friedman, 43, who discovered it. He and his spouse and children are living in Bethesda, and Shouk is upcoming doorway to the MOM’s Organic Market in which they store. Nussbacher, 45, who also life in Bethesda, notes that there is a significant degree of alignment among Montgomery County citizens and Shouk’s mission. “They are balanced-friendly, world-friendly and rooted in ethnic cuisine,” he says.

Israeli-born Nussbacher is Shouk’s founder. He came to the D.C. region in 2008 to get the job done for Opower, a tech corporation specializing in power effectiveness. There, he observed how earning smaller alterations in domestic electricity intake could have a big effect on taking electric power vegetation off the grid. He utilized that idea to his possess way of living, likely from not thinking about what he ate to turning out to be a vegetarian, and then a vegan, mainly because of the destructive result meat intake has on the local weather due to its carbon and water footprint. He arrived up with the plan for Shouk as a way to do one thing about climate change. “If I can get anyone to try to eat plant-centered food stuff at the time or twice a 7 days who typically wouldn’t, I’m driving main affect,” he claims.

Lacking restaurant working experience, Nussbacher achieved Friedman, a chef, by means of mutual buddies in 2014. Friedman did a tasting for him at Newton’s Desk, the Bethesda restaurant he owned at the time. The two clicked and spent a calendar year tests vegan dishes. Nussbacher was clear about obtaining nothing imitation, nothing processed and no falafel on the menu. (He did not want the Israeli avenue food items cafe to be pigeonholed as a falafel shop, but they additional a quite delectable model of it to the menu a pair of yrs in the past.) Friedman, who was a carnivore at the onset of the enterprise and now eats a plant-dependent food plan, rose to the obstacle.

The first Shouk opened in Washington in 2016. The Shouk burger ($12.50)—a baked then griddled patty built with chickpeas, flaxseeds, mushrooms, black beans, beets and other veggies and stuffed into a entire wheat pita with roasted tomatoes, pickled turnips, arugula, charred onions and tahini—put them on the map. In 2018, it was touted by celeb chef Carla Hall on an episode of Foodstuff Network’s The Finest Point I Ever Ate. MOM’s Natural and organic Markets in the D.C. spot now have the burgers, bought frozen in deals of 4 for $10.99. Shouk sells them on the net in 3 offers of four for $48, in addition $12 shipping.

Other standout pitas incorporate mushroom shawarma with pickled cabbage, cucumber and onion salad, tahini and arugula ($12.50) an eggplant patty burger with fries, pickled cabbage and amba, a pickled mango condiment ($12.50) and fried Shouk’n, breaded and fried oyster mushroom nuggets with harissa (crimson pepper paste) mayo ($12.50). The hummus at Shouk is silken and creamy, all the far better as a plate topped with herb-filled falafel and cucumber and tomato salad ($12).

Shouk, 5568 Randolph Highway (Montrose Browsing Middle), Rockville, 202-945-4747, shouk.com


Comings & goings

Jason Miskiri, who owns The Offended Jerk in Silver Spring, is setting up to open an all-working day breakfast concept known as The Breakfast Club in the Fenton Silver Spring apartments this spring. Flip’d by IHOP, a new fast-casual edition of the sit-down breakfast chain, is slated to open up in the previous Asian Bistro place this summer.

Thompson Hospitality, which owns D.C.-based mostly Matchbox, plans to open two outlets in one Silver Spring storefront on Ga Avenue close to Seminary Street: Willie T’s Seafood Shack (po’ boys and fried or grilled seafood dishes) and Be Proper Burger. No opening date has been provided.

In the downtown space of Silver Spring, Valencia Wine Garden is expected to open in the former Mandalay place on Bonifant Street and Guavaberry Dominican Restaurant is slated to swap The Greek Put, which closed in December, on Georgia Avenue. Neither announced an opening day nevertheless.

Hi Betty, a California-centered seafood cafe, is expected to open up at Pike & Rose in North Bethesda this spring its bar designed out of a boat is slated to open up this summertime.
Butter Me Up, a D.C.-dependent quick-everyday breakfast cafe, is planning to open up in Westfield Montgomery shopping mall in Bethesda. No opening date has been supplied. It’s an offshoot of HalfSmoke, whose homeowners announced in August 2020 that they would be opening in Rockville, then pushed the day to December 2021. They’re nevertheless not open up at press time.

December observed a large amount of closures, which includes Pollo Campero in Silver Spring, Nando’s Peri-Peri in Bethesda Row, Broadway Pizza in Cabin John Village, Amici Miei Ristorante in Rockville City Center (following a 17-yr operate, 13 of them in Potomac), and sandwich chain Taylor Connoisseur in North Bethesda.

Chef Francesco Ricchi shut Cesco Osteria at the stop of January following a 25-calendar year run in Bethesda, 14 of them on Cordell Avenue and the final 11 on Woodmont Avenue.

French cafe Normandie Farm in Potomac, which opened in 1931 and has been helmed by chef Cary Prokos since 1983, will shut on June 30. The restaurant could open up underneath new entrepreneurs as before long as this summertime.

Trisha Anderson

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