West Seattle restaurants: About that notice on the Mawadda Café window

(WSB photo)

By Randall Hauk
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

The notice for a liquor-license application in the front window of the Admiral District’s Mawadda Café has caught the attention recently of visitors seeking a taste of the Mediterranean eatery’s notoriously delicious falafel.

Cafe owner Rami Al-Jabori confirms to WSB that he has interest from a new ownership entity behind listed applicant “Irashai” (the Japanese word for “welcome”), but says he’s still talking to multiple potential buyers of his current space at 2352 California Avenue SW and has yet to commit to a sale.

“We’re still negotiating,” Al-Jebori told WSB. “The deal is not closed.”

Even so, Al-Jebori says he is seeking to shutter his West Seattle location after failing to find a consistent audience over the last four-plus years.

“We thought it was a big opportunity four years ago, but we’ve not been able to break even,” says Al-Jebori, who acknowledges he is actively looking to sell in order to close the West Seattle location while continuing to operate successful eateries in the Rainier Valley and Burien under the “Mawadda” name, which means “beloved” in Urdu.

For now, Al-Jebori says the Admiral location will continue to operate at its normal hours.

Bellevue business advisers SHK Group, who own the phone number listed on Irashai’s liquor license application, were unable to comment on their client’s plans. Efforts to contact the client have been fruitless so far.

17 Replies to "West Seattle restaurants: About that notice on the Mawadda Café window"

  • Sue March 22, 2016 (11:01 am)

    You know, I love their food, but the service is so incredibly slow, which is why I rarely go. On several occasions I’ve walked in, waited over 5 minutes for anyone to even acknowledge me at the counter, and after getting and finishing my food, wait forever for anyone to realize I’m done eating and need a check. I’ve had the same experience at their other location in Burien. The food is excellent and the staff very nice, which is why I’ve gone back, but you need to definitely not be in any sort of a hurry. And food like falafel is not something I usually equate with waiting a long time .

    • Jade March 22, 2016 (11:23 am)

      While I haven’t visited the Admiral location, Burien is always delicious. The trick? Call in a to-go order. I used to eat there about once a month, and my to-go visits were always smooth and effortless. 

  • J242 March 22, 2016 (12:22 pm)

    I was thinking the same. Popped in there to get a gyro for my wife while she was finishing up some large items at the laundromat. 10+ minutes later we were still waiting. It was really good, but I don’t understand why a gyro would take so long. My favorite spot is Mr D’s down across from Pike’s Place and it takes all of 45 seconds to get a delicious, hot gyro. 

  • Huindekmi March 22, 2016 (12:25 pm)

    We tried the Mawadda Cafe a number of times, but the service was always slow (as other people mentioned) and often quite surly. There’s nothing like going to a restaurant that makes you feel unwelcome  and like an inconvenience. The food didn’t warrant that level of service, so we just stopped going. It’s a shame, as we really were looking forward to a good falafel/shwarma/gyro place in the hood.

  • PAPA March 22, 2016 (12:30 pm)

    went here one time for a pick up order and both the man behind the register and the  man in the kitchen were just blank faced staring at their phones while I was left standing there waiting for someone  to look up and realize there is a customer waiting for service…………  

  • GoGo March 22, 2016 (12:35 pm)

    Anybody have any other recommendations in West Seattle for a good gyro?  Now that Kokoras is gone I don’t know where to go.  Thx!!

    • Sue March 22, 2016 (12:52 pm)

      The Falafel Salam truck at the farmers market on Sundays is very good if you don’t mind taking it to go.

  • Kristen March 22, 2016 (1:52 pm)

    I will second the recommendation for Falafel Salam! That place is amazing!!!!! The falafel is great, the rice bowl is great, and the baklava is dangerous!!! Love, love, love!!! 

  • onion March 22, 2016 (2:22 pm)

    Agree with the other commentators — great food, but service was definitely on the slow side, even when they didn’t appear to have any other customers or orders. Also, I wonder what their ratio of eat-in to take-out customers was? I never saw all the booths full, parking could be a bit difficult during peak times (even with the mini-lot in back). They usually seemed to have three people working at a time, and with their low volume I’m actually surprised they lasted as long as they did. But I will miss their food.

  • Hungerpains March 22, 2016 (3:22 pm)

    Any word or idea of what’s moving into old Guadalajara yet in the Endolyne neighborhood? Windows are papered over.

  • Alkiguy March 22, 2016 (8:19 pm)

    I agree about the slow service. Also the atmosphere was awful. I never wanted to go there for dinner and sit in the place. 

  • New thinking needed March 22, 2016 (8:35 pm)

    Try Snack Gyro, 15217 6th Ave SW Burien 98166.

    Tiny location, tasty food! !!

    Friendly guys!! who will be happy to see you!! Been there twice now.

  • syncomm1 March 22, 2016 (10:23 pm)

    Owner is a nice man  so I am sorry to see that his business is not working out. That said, the last time I ate there I asked for tahini sauce on my falafel platter (instead of the yoghurt based sauce he uses). He said he did not have any…a falafel place that does not use tahini???!!  That’s like being told in a pizzeria,”Sorry we don’t use cheese.”

    The food was dry, the falafel tasteless. Unfortunately we don’t have many local choices.

  • KT March 23, 2016 (2:42 am)

    Huh?  The place is actively for sale, and has not yet been sold, but someone is applying for a liquor license?

  • WSB March 23, 2016 (6:09 am)

    Yes, we’ve found that circumstance – and potential tenants/owners applying for remodeling permits before the deal is done – increasingly, lately. 

  • Seaview Mom March 23, 2016 (8:53 am)

    Just had Mr.Gyro’s food at their Wallingford location yesterday and I can’t wait to eat there again! Nice people, quick food, reasonable prices. I think they should add West Seattle to their locations, and this would be the perfect spot!

  • Brewmeister March 24, 2016 (11:49 am)

    Tried them two times. First time we stood at the counter asking if they could take our order as three men just stared and stood in the kitchen. We just got blank stares and no response for about 3-5 minutes. No response at all. We walked out. Figured it was opening jitters and went back about a month later to much the same result. A man finally came out from the kitchen and grumpilly and rudely  took our order. 30 minutes later we got our cold bland food. Both times there were only about 4 or 5 customers in the place.  Learned our lesson and never went back.  Surprised they lasted this long honestly. 

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