New York City’s oldest falafel restaurant has big plans for the Chicago area. Mamoun’s, a Greenwich Village icon that is embarking on ambitious national expansion plans, has announced that five new franchised restaurants in Chicagoland are now part of that expansion, according to a news release on restaurantnews.com. There’s no word yet on locations or specific opening timeframes — representatives for the burgeoning chain have yet to respond to inquiries — but they’re all slated to open sometime within the next five years, the release states.
Mamoun’s debuted in 1971 on MacDougal Street in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village near NYU, and has since become an NYC institution for falafel sandwiches and other affordable quick-served Middle Eastern food from daytime until the wee hours of the night. Eater New York has blessed the original location as one of Gotham’s best cheap eats, as well as one of critic Robert Sietsema’s best cheap eats and best late-night eats. In addition to its addictive fried chickpea balls served in pita sandwiches or as plates over salad with tahini sauce, Mamoun’s also serves familiar hummus, baba ghanouj, shawarma, meat kebobs, lentil soup, spinach pie, baklava, and stuffed grape leaves.
Mamoun’s first began expanding locally in recent years with a location on St. Marks Place in the East Village, three locations in New Jersey, and one in Connecticut. Dallas was picked this year for its first restaurant outside the Northeast, which a rep told Eater Dallas would be “the first of many future Mamoun's Falafel openings out west.”
Now Chicago is next in line for some iconic falafel. Similar to The Halal Guys, another NYC quick-serve Middle Eastern food icon that expanded to Chicago and other cities, Mamoun’s is using franchising to expand to multiple locations around the country. The news release names Sagar Patel as Mamoun’s local franchisee, and that the chain uses a commissary to produce its food and has partnered with U.S. Foods to distribute it. Stay tuned for more on the Chicago expansions.