The Fat Falafel (www.thefatfalafel.com) food truck, which started rolling in December 2012, is putting itself in park and opening a not-yet-named brick-and-mortar restaurant off Esplanade Avenue. Co-owner and co-founder Theresa Galli says she and partner Gavin Cady hope to open up by late summer. They'll occupy the retail space on Ponce de Leon Street that previously housed the Mid-City branch of Maple Street Book Shop.
The menu will feature the falafel sandwiches and platters for which the truck is known, and Galli says the restaurant will branch out into other types of cuisine. "We're not planning on having a Mediterranean restaurant," she says. Falafel will be available at lunch and maybe for dinner, but lunch consists mostly of salads and sandwiches. "It'll have a small dinner menu that has the same seasonal focus to it," Galli says. "For that, we want to do a couple of items that are larger format so that two or four people can share them." The restaurant also will serve brunch on the weekends.
Galli and Cady picked the Ponce de Leon address because they often park the Fat Falafel truck outside Swirl Wine Bar and Market and they like the neighborhood.
Though the new restaurant's concept is evolving, Galli is optimistic that fans of the truck will travel to the permanent shop. "We're about to submit plans to the city, and then we need to construct an entire kitchen," she says. "We always wanted to have a restaurant; that was our original goal. The food truck was just a less expensive and less risky way to test out whether or not we could be successful in the restaurant business."