It was 15 years ago when The Falafel Bar first opened up on Elmwood Avenue, bringing with it a wide variety of Middle Eastern culinary delights that were relatively new to the scene. From what I remember, The Falafel Bar was also one of the first to concentrate on such foods as falafel, Turkish eggplant, fatoush, kufta, shawarma, etc. The owner of The Falafel Bar, Oded Rauvenpoor, then opened his second restaurant in Allentown, which was one of my favorite places to go.
Eventually the Elmwood location closed, and then the Allentown location after that. Rauvenpoor began concentrating his efforts in the suburbs, and currently owns one on Sheridan Drive. It’s been a while since I thought about the food at The Falafel Bar, but now Rauvenpoor has opened a second location at EXPO. I went there for lunch today, to try out one of my old favorites – the falafel and hummus wrap – and was not disappointed. It looked and tasted just like I remembered. I even asked the woman behind the counter if they had any of the falafel hot sauce that I used to love, and they did.
While I waited for my order to arrive, I asked about the new location at EXPO (The Market Arcade), and was told that at first they were testing the waters with sandwiches and wraps, and a few other basics, but due to the success of the location, they were preparing to do a deeper dive into the offerings. Not only will there be more salads, maza (starters), soups, etc., in the near future, the menu will more resemble that of the Sheridan Drive location. There will even be kabab offerings, and a shaving skewer, where meat will be carved per order, right in front of the customer.
I’m happy to see Rauvenpoor back in action in the city. I wasn’t quite sure if he would make a stand again. Thankfully he did, and it appears that it was the right decision, at the right place, at the right time.
The Falafel Bar is perfect for getting a quick healthy vegetarian meal, or you can get a chicken finger wrap if that’s your preference. The selections are decent, with more offerings on the way. The Falafel Bar joins a number of other popular restaurants at downtown Buffalo’s premier food court.
The Falafel Bar | EXPO @ The Market Arcade | 617 Main Street | Buffalo NY