By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
After “working day and night for three and a half months,” West Seattle chef/entrepreneur Shimi Kahn is almost ready to open his sit-down Falafel Salam restaurant in The Junction.
We first reported in February that the longtime food-truck owner was taking over the former Yummy Teriyaki space at 4746 California SW. After hearing that the transformation was almost complete, and that he expects to open next week, we stopped in on Monday afternoon.
First thing to catch our eyes: Plants.
The southwest side of the restaurant’s interior will have a “living wall,” not far from where the Falafelsaurus sits in one of the garage-door-style windows, which will be ready to let in the summer warmth and sunshine when Falafel Salam opens. (Some outdoor seating is planned, too.)
The entirety of the space, which seats about 34, has undergone a hands-on overhaul. Shimi has wood surfaces on the walls, the counter, and elsewhere, with materials from repurposed 114-year-old fir to birch:
He’s oxidized some other wood trim with “a concoction of vinegar and steel wool”:
Pulling back for a wider look – the kitchen is open, so you’ll see everything happening right there in the heart of the restaurant.
Something else you’ll see: A cooler full of grab-and-go food. While you are welcome to order anything on the menu for takeout, Shimi says, they also will be offering premade items “like a deli” for those in a hurry. Hummus, baba ganoush, and more. “Especially with PCC closing,” he notes, they want to make healthy quick food available to West Seattleites.
And along with the recycled wood, sustainability and low waste will be a theme with the food, too. For example, he plans to work with West Seattle Farmers Market vendors (Falafel Salam itself has been part of the WSFM since it moved into the street two years ago) to get produce that might “not be so beautiful” but will make great seasonal pickles. They will bake bread daily, and if there are day-old leftovers, they can be used for pita chips. Lemon rinds can be candied. And the list goes on.
And now, the practical details:
Falafel Salam will be closed Mondays – that’s when they’ll be working to prepare for the week ahead, since everything is made from scratch. The hours aren’t finalized but Shimi expects to open for lunch around 11 and stay open until 8:30, 9 for starters, possibly moving to a late happy hour after a while. The liquor license they’re seeking is for beer/wine, NOT a full bar.
Speaking of beverages, offerings will include fresh coconuts – “cold and with a straw!” promises Shimi – and mint and pomegranate lemonades.
Saturday and Sunday brunch will likely run 8:30 am-2 pm, with specialties including the egg dish shakshuka, lamb poutine, pita French toast. Look for a falafel twist on chicken and waffles, too.
Some things will be phased in – so keep in mind what you find at Falafel Salam once it’s open will be just the beginning. Shimi says he’s just excited to “open it and make it happen” and see how it goes from there.
Final inspections are currently expected toward the end of this week, so opening day could be as soon as next Tuesday.