Deep Ellum Closure

Vegan-friendly falafel restaurant chain shuts down its Dallas location

Vegan-friendly falafel restaurant chain shuts down its Dallas location

Amsterdam Falafelshop
No more falafel in Deep Ellum. Photo courtesy of Amsterdam Falafelshop

A Washington, D.C.-based chain that specializes in falafel sandwiches has closed its Dallas location. Amsterdam Falafelshop, which resided in Deep Ellum at 2651 Commerce St., closed on July 30. Moving trucks were at the restaurant, and the restaurant confirmed that it had closed permanently.

Launched in 2004 by husband-and-wife Arianne and Scott Bennett, the chain was brought to Dallas by franchisee Chris Kline.

In addition to falafel — the deep-fried balls made from ground chickpeas — Amsterdam Falafelshop also served shawarma, made of halal lamb that was marinated for 24 hours in Middle Eastern spices, roasted, and carved onsite. Diners could get falafel or shawarma in a warm pita or bowl, then add toppings from a garnish bar stocked with more than two dozen options.

The other exotic dish: Dutch-style French fries, also called frieten, served with a dollop of mayonnaise.

When he opened, Kline says that one appeal of the concept was 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 said. "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."

The restaurant opened with a strong pitch to Dallas' vegan audience, and were met with an initial flourish of business. Prices were low, making it essential for a lot of customers to come through. Lunch did well, but there would be long stretches of time with little business.

In early 2017, the restaurant hired a PR agency to try and drum up coverage, but received little response.

Arianne Bennett says they're saddened by the closure. "It is closed, and it makes us very sad," she says. "It's unfortunate there just is not the business for it there. We really loved being in the community."