Falafel Forever

Vegetarian-friendly falafel shop readies first Texas post in Deep Ellum

Veg-friendly falafel shop readies first Texas post in Deep Ellum

Amsterdam Falafelshop
Amsterdam Falafel is opening in Dallas exactly where it belongs. Amsterdam Falafelshop/Facebook

More than a year in the works, the ultra-hot Amsterdam Falafelshop is ready for its grand opening in Dallas.

Amsterdam Falafelshop is the fast-casual restaurant from Washington, D.C. whose menu centers on falafel, the Middle Eastern favorite. The chain is in early expansion mode; that includes Dallas with a branch at 2651 Commerce St. in Deep Ellum.

Chris Kline, who's ushering the Dallas entry, says he's optimistic they'll be open by the beginning of May. He became more familiar with Middle-Eastern food after serving eight years in the Army, including two tours in Iraq.

"I think we're on forefront of an expansion of falafel," he says. "You're already seeing it with the popularity of hummus. People are so global, they want to try everything from all over the world."

Made from ground chickpeas which are rolled into balls or patties and deep-fried, falafel is most commonly stuffed into pita bread, along with lettuce, tomato, red onion, and other fresh things, then drizzled with sauce. A falafel sandwich is a satisfying study in contrasts, between the crunch of the fried falafel, the freshness of the vegetables, and the richness of the sauce.

Deep Ellum's Amsterdam Falafelshop will also serve shawarma, made of halal lamb and marinated for 24 hours in Middle Eastern spices, roasted, and carved onsite. The shawarma will be presented just as the falafel is, in a warm pita or bowl. Diners can then add toppings from a garnish bar with more than two dozen options.

The Deep Ellum shop will also serve beer, permit pending. It'll be the first shop in the chain to offer Heineken, Stella Artois, and Hoegaarden on tap. There will also be a unique caffeinated beverage called Cannabis Energy Drink, containing hemp seed oil, in a variety of flavors including original and mango.

The other exotic dish: Dutch-style French fries, also called frieten, served with a dollop of mayonnaise. There, we said dollop. There'll be an outdoor patio and late-night hours, extending from 11 am to midnight Sunday-Wednesday, and until 3 am on weekend nights. And prices will be low, providing the opportunity for a good, quick, cheap lunch.

Kline says that the other appeal of this particular concept is its unique atmosphere.

"It has to do with what Amsterdam represents, as this liberal, vibrant concept where everyone's free to do as they please," he says. "When you go to the shop in Washington, D.C., you see rabbis, Palestinians, Rastafarians, vegans, all coming together in the same place, it is powerful, and that's what I want to tap into, that there is no judgment."

That's part of why they felt it was important to be in Deep Ellum. "We started looking all over the Metroplex, and spent a lot of time cautiously thinking about where we really wanted to be," he says. "And then we realized, of course Deep Ellum has the right spirit, it's the right place for us to be."