Highly anticipated New York City falafel chain Taïm Falafel opened its first Washington, D.C. location on Wisconsin Avenue on Aug. 31.
Israeli chefs Einat Admony and Stéfan Nafziger founded the first Taïm Falafel in Manhattan 14 years ago, but the Georgetown spot is the first location outside of New York, according to Washingtonian. The popular restaurant, which gets its name from the Hebrew word for “tasty,” hopes to open three more D.C. locations next year.
The Georgetown location, at 1065 Wisconsin Ave. NW, has already drawn a crowd, according to Taïm Falafel CEO Phil Petrilli.
“What excites me most about the new restaurant is actually the thousands now (in just the first week) of people who have tried Taïm for the first time and been so blown away by the food and the service in the restaurant,” Petrilli wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Taïm wants to foster long-term positive relationships with its new customers, according to COO Bethany Strong.
“The restaurant has been exceeding our expectations and we have established some terrific relationships with customers who have already become regulars!,” Strong wrote in an email to The Hoya. “We have started to receive catering orders and have seen a daily increase in downloads of our app and online orders.”
Chef Admony chose to expand to D.C. because of its close proximity to New York and its vibrant food culture, according to Eater. Moving to D.C. was an easy decision to grow the chain, Petrilli said.
“DC made a lot of sense given how close it is to NYC (lots of people here already know us from their travels in NYC), the incredible diversity in this city and the relative void here for really high quality yet super affordable vegetarian focused dining options,” Petrilli wrote. “It really was an obvious next step for us as we expand outside of NYC.”
While the new menu stays close to its established New York restaurants, Admony regularly changes items on the list, according to Washingtonian. The menu currently features different bases like falafel and cauliflower shawarma, which can be eaten in a pita, salad or platter, as well as a variety of sides. The majority of entree dishes are around $10.
Though this is Taïm’s first location in the District, it is not the first falafel restaurant in Georgetown. Competitors such as Falafel Inc. on Potomac Street also attract students from the university. One student, Sarah Alberts (NHS ’21), described the differences between the two falafel hotspots while having lunch at Taïm.
“It is a little bit more expensive than Falafel [Inc.], but I would say Falafel [Inc.] is a little more of a lunch place whereas you could get more of a dinner sized meal here,” she said. “So, if you want to eat something more substantial you could come here.”
Alberts enjoyed Taïm’s variety, but she was not ready to say it tastes better than the Potomac Street mainstay.
“Flavor-wise, this has more sides to add to your meal. Falafel [Inc.] is a little more basic,” she said. “I think the falafel itself at Falafel [Inc.] tastes better, but the sides here counteract that.”
The management of Taïm Falafel hopes to appeal to Georgetown students in particular, emphasizing its vegetarian and vegan options.
“What we create every day is really aligned with the way today’s Georgetown student thinks about and eats food. First and foremost— we are real and we are authentic,” Petrilli wrote. “People today recognize the beautiful diversity in flavors, colors, and textures that come with plant based eating and especially the young adults of our communities are simply looking to incorporate healthier eating options into their diets.”