Dallas-Fort Worth got its first Amsterdam Falafelshop last year in Deep Ellum. At a recent media event, owner Chris Kline gave me the scoop on his inspiration for importing this shop. Kline made a local friend while serving with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. Later, the friend moved to the Washington, D.C., area with her husband. The couple invited Kline to visit and took him to a falafel shop. He says the experience changed his life. Then and there he resolved to open his own falafel shop.
Nearly a decade later, his dream became reality when he purchased a franchise of Amsterdam Falafelshop. The D.C.-based chain now has five locations, but the Deep Ellum restaurant is the first outside the Eastern Seaboard. According to the company website, they aim to bring “the exciting flavors of Europe and the Middle East” to their customers.
Kline took me around to see what is involved. Amsterdam Falafelshop makes virtually everything from scratch — only the bread and fries are brought in. I actually made some falafel using the supplied tool to scoop up the falafel mixture and shape it for frying (though I don’t plan a career in the business).
Normally, customers order at the counter and the food is cooked to order. I chose a combination falafel and shawarma bowl ($10.50), which featured very tasty freshly cut lamb. There is an extensive 22-item “fixings bar,” where customers can add such things as baba ghanoush, hummus, sauces, and grilled eggplant. Soft drinks and craft beers are available to drink.
The restaurant is open long hours — from lunch to 3am most days — so an eclectic mix of people in Dallas’ funkiest neighborhood frequent it. The atmosphere is casual and lively. But diners don’t need to dine in to enjoy the offerings — there is an active takeout and catering business. The large range of snack-sized items makes it popular with the local creative companies for corporate events.