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Shoptalk 10-23-07 Hummus Heaven By Lauren LaBorde Café Pyramids chef/owner Hilmi Abdeligalil takes pride in making Mediterranean dishes the authentic way. The number of Mediterranean eateries around town makes picking the place for a hummus fix a tough choice, especially since all of these purveyors of the beloved chickpea dip are delicious. Café Pyramids in the university area makes that decision a little easier with its healthy, authentic offerings made with a personal touch by an enthusiastic chef.

'I make everything in my hands," says owner Hilmi Abdeligalil. 'Here, chef and owner are the same thing."

Abdeligalil's kitchen experience dates back to when he was 16 and working in restaurants in his native Jerusalem. He arrived in the United States in 1994 and moved to New Orleans, which he says he loves like his hometown.

Wearing dual hats as chef and owner doesn't overwhelm Abdeligalil, who maintains a menu full of options. Café Pyramids offers the usual fare of Greek and Mediterranean items " all prepared fresh and true to their international origins. The appetizer menu boasts a hummus dip that Abdeligalil brags earned Pyramids the nickname 'hummus heaven," baba ganouj and falafel. Entrées include kebabs, gyro plates and chicken shawarma (made on a rotisserie), seafood such as a shrimp plate and tilapia fillets. There are also sandwiches, vegetarian options and flaky, honey-coated baklava for dessert.

Café Pyramids delivers to nearby college dorm dwellers and area residents and also offers a catering menu for events.

What makes Café Pyramids stand out " besides what Abdeligalil calls its '100 percent fresh, 100 percent authentic" food " is the love Abdeligalil puts into his business and his food, making it the go-to place for hummus or anything customers want prepared with a special touch.

Diners return frequently. During lunch rush one day, Abdeligalil stopped to visit with a regular customer who comes with his infant. 'We have a lot of customers like him that come almost every day," the chef says. 'The baby loves the hummus."

Abdeligalil loves his job, and that comes through in his food. 'I love to cook," he says. 'I love it and you know, when you cook, it's probably like when you love someone."


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