It’s been three and a half years since Acapella restaurant closed in the Playhouse Square neighborhood, but the space finally will reopen this March. Restaurant owner Seth Bromberg, who also operates the nearby District
(1350 Euclid Ave., 216-858-1000), will open Raving Med, a casual eatery that will specialize in Israeli street food staples like falafel and shawarma.
Throughout Israel, explains Bromberg, a frequent visitor to that country, small falafel and shawarma stands are as common as are hot dog carts in urban American cities. Though each operator has his or her own twist on doing things, all benefit from fresh ingredients prepared daily and cooked to order.
“This is true, authentic Israeli street food that you would find in any small city throughout the country,” he says.
The fast-casual operation will focus on simple, fresh, healthy and delicious foods from throughout the Eastern Mediterranean. In addition to falafel and shawarma, the eatery will concentrate its efforts on a myriad of bright Middle Eastern-style salads made less with greens than with grains like lentils, rice and chick peas and a host of veggies.
Falafel not only must be fried to order to be considered fresh, says Bromberg, but the chickpea and herb mixture must be made daily. It will be at Raving Med, as will the house-made pita bread it slides into. The hot and savory falafel balls will be topped with a customer’s choice of some 20 fresh ingredients that include tahini, hummus, schug (Middle Eastern hot sauce), pickled veggies, slaws and salads.
Hot and salty hand-cut french fries, a common addition in Israel, also make their way into the falafel sandwiches if desired.
The shawarma is a spinning tower of boneless chicken thighs seasoned with herbs and spices like allspice, turmeric, cumin and cardamom. The meat is shaved off the sides and tucked into a pita like the falafel. Other shawarmas will be made using beef and turkey.
Chicken schnitzel, herb-breaded and fried white meat filets, comprise the third major meat group. Like the falafel and the shawarma, the schnitzel goes into a fresh baked pita with any number of sauces or toppings.
With any meat, customers also can ditch the pita and go straight into a bowl with salads.
The 1,500-square-foot space will have an open kitchen, a line for ordering, seating for a couple dozen, and an area for grab-and-go foods.
Bromberg’s partner in the project is Eric McIntyre.