Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Falafel Gourmet, a really nice Mediterranean Market

It wasn't so very long ago that we struggled to find the most basic Armenian ingredients such as bulgur here in South Florida -- and despite the region's growth, we're still left with few shopping choices.

So we get a little excited whenever we hear about a new Middle Eastern store. But that excitement often fades when we walk through the door.

A number have come and gone over the years. Many were small and poorly stocked, and a few have been less than appetizing in their appearance and not very hospitable.

So what a pleasant surprise it was when we visited the just-opened Falafel Gourmet in Coral Springs (not far from Fort Lauderdale) and were greeted warmly by Hamest Guiragousian, a fellow Armenian, and her husband Mohammed Flafil.

The store is bright, clean and impressively stocked with a vast selection of dried, canned and packaged goods, refrigerated cheeses, yogurt, frozen meats (including lamb!), sweets from Syria and other countries that will knock your socks off.

Ms. Guiragosian cooks many of the fresh foods along with a team of cooks, right on the premises. They have a take-out menu which includes appetizers, savory pies, salads, kabob plates which come with rice and salad, and sandwiches (falafel and kabobs), chicken or lamb shawerma, makanek (a beef and lamb sausage), and more.

South Florida's diversity -- and growing Near and Middle Eastern population -- is illustrated by the variety of languages and country-of-origin tags, as well as labels marked Halal and Kosher.

Part of the reason the store is so attractive is the gorgeous wood cabinetry that looks hand-made because it is: Mr. Flafil was a custom cabinet maker in his native Jordan. 

The couple got started in the food industry by running a wholesale business for 15 years from home -- something they enjoyed doing very much. Their dream of someday having their own store became a reality on December 10, 2009, when the Falafel Gourmet opened.

They hope to expand to include a restaurant. But for now their focus is on their store, with help from their their two high school-age sons whenever school is out of session.

I found them by word of mouth, and now I’d like to spread the word.


Falafel Gourmet Mon-Sat: 9am - 9pm
4344 N. State Rd. 7 Sun: 10 am - 9 pm
Coral Springs, FL 33073.
Tel: 954-752-8340
Fax: 954-752-8339.

14 comments:

  1. Sounds like a real find -- thank you for sharing!

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  2. This place is awesome. I am blessed with living across the street! It's a very friendly place and the family that owns it is just wonderful. Very, very sweet people, which is so rare these days!

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  3. I was in there for the first time today and the owner was incredibly nice! It is not a sit down restaurant, but they make food to go from scratch. Pleasantly surprised with the service and will definitlely go back for future purchases and to learn more about the cuisine!

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  4. My husband and I stumbled upon this place by accident - we were heading to Panera Bread and the sign and delicious smells caught our attention. The falafel sandwiches were delicious, the grocery aisles were clean and stocked to the brim with interesting foods and Mohammed shook our hands and chatted with us for at least 10 minutes. Can't wait to go back.

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  5. I'm so glad you made that detour! Panera Bread has some fierce competition with their neighbor, the Falafel Gourmet.

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  6. The food is terrible and there grocery section is extremely over priced....

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  7. Went in to try the falafel since I do not eat meat! The food is amazing...real home cooked taste! The owners are very sweet. OMG I am going there for lunch right now :)

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  8. I noticed the shop when I went to Panera for lunch one day. I love falafel, hummus and kibbeh and wanted to add something new to my menu of things to make for dinner. The woman who runs the place, Ms. Guiragosian per this article, was very patient with me as I asked about the proper way to fry her pre-made falaf...batter(?). It came out great so I went back today for more and a falafel press to make molding the patties a little easier. Her husband helped me today, he was just as friendly and helpful. I need a tour guide for the store. I find myself wandering around wanting to explore all the interesting new food but I have no idea what any of it is.
    Also had a nosh on a Feta cheese pie that was delicious. I want to go back for the shawerma.

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  9. The owner is money hungry and willing to lose a customer over a dollar a lot of items are out of date and if you buy and not pay attention he will argue with you till morning and won't compensate you. I bought sandwichs one time and never again because I'm middle eastern and that's not the way the sandwiches are supposed to taste because he is too cheap to use quality ingredients I will never ever go to that dredful place because I always gave him the benefit of the doubt and the owner always failed. He is a nasty person and will never see a dollar from me again. This is for everybody if you want great meditarenean food visit al Natour restaurant on sunrise and just west of university on the left next to state farm you won't regret it and will spend much less

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  10. Bad customer experience! :(

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  11. Bad customer experience from mr. Mohammed! :( avoid this place at all cost

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  12. "Beware The Rotten Hummus"

    I have purchased the hummus at Falafel Gourmet several times which is very tasty if it hasn't been sitting in there cooler for days on end. At least five times upon arriving straight home with the hummus it had that sharp, twangy taste. Two nights ago my wife picked up a container and thought that she smelled something funny on the way home. I tasted it and immediately knew that it was bad. I went back today to return the rotten hummus and the owners were there and basically told me "tough luck". I will never go back there again - frequent this establishment at your own rick of food poisoning.

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  13. Owners have quite an attitiude - avoid like the plauge!

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  14. Agree with Mike's comment above. Purchased large container of Hummus last weekend, went directly home and served some to my husband and son. Yikes, tasted like sour and twangy bean curds. Called owner the next day to inform them they might have a problem with their cooler - she told me that their hummus is always fresh and I must be out of my mind. Never going back.

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