By Mike Goodman
Finally, the casual food options at The Wharf are expanding, and Falafel, Inc. will allow you to eat good food, at a good price, for a good cause. The restaurant opened its second location in DC at the end of March, situated at 1140 Maine Ave., SW near the Fish Market. This is a perfect spot to grab a quick bite while enjoying the sights and sounds of the neighborhood.
The signature falafel sandwich is only $3, and provides a tasty mix of falafel, fresh lettuce, red cabbage, pali salad, tatbili, tahini and a peppery red sauce. It is gluten-free, the pita is warm, and the ingredients are fresh. But it is not just the sandwich that satisfies. For every $10 that customers spend at Falafel, Inc., the organization donates the cost of feeding a refugee one day’s worth of food. This equates to about fifty cents per $10. The goal of the company’s founder, Ahmed Ashkar, is to open 100 Falafel, Inc. franchises, which would create enough donations to feed a million refugees per year. The company also hopes to hire a refugee workforce and train these individuals for future employment in the food sector, or potentially to become franchise owners themselves.
While a $3 sandwich for a good cause should be enough incentive to give it a try, the restaurant also serves a fresh $4 falafel bowl, and has plenty of sides to fill you up, including traditional pita and hummus, cucumber salad, tabouli salad, and their much-talked-about Za’atar fries, which are heavily-seasoned, aromatic and crispy. The other highlight of the offerings is the array of sauces. There are six sauces that are self-serve, allowing customization of anything on the menu. I would recommend the traditional Habibi sauce, with a tang that is not too spicy, and a hint of garlic. If you want to go heavy on the garlic, go with the crowd-favorite Garlic White sauce, or if you want to up your spice-level, try the jalapeno-based Invisible sauce. More options abound, to satisfy the palate of all comers.
While there is no inside seating at this small establishment, there is plenty of space to stand or sit outside, and to enjoy the outdoor amenities of The Wharf. Falafel, Inc. should be here to stay, which is not just good for Southwest residents, but good for many others around the world, too.