JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Falafel X Bar opened in Avondale in July. The owners incorporated NYC subway design with their Middle Eastern background to create a bright space and a welcoming patio.
“We just wanted to bring a twist on tradition foods that we grew up eating," owner Sandy Saoud said.
She's Lebanese, and her husband is Palestinian. Their two other business partners are also Palestinian. History in the food here passed down by generations
“My mother-in-law, my mom, grandmothers, aunts," Saoud said. "Anyone who has ever cooked for us gave us inspiration for how we want our food to taste.”
The main attraction is their namesake: falafel.
Falafel is a fried Chickpea patty. It is vegetarian, vegan, and even gluten-free at Falafel X Bar. It's made with herbs and spices.
“That’s exactly how you’re going to know it’s the freshest. It's bright green when you bite into it or break it open," Saoud said. "It’s perfectly fried and crispy on the outside and perfectly moist when you bite into it.”
Load it up with their toppings bar, which ranges from a garlic spread to pickled vegetables and chickpea salad.
Other 'must trys' are their Palestinian chicken panini, watermelon salad with feta, and creamy made-in-house hummus. The owner’s order though is called a sea board. It's one of their specialties.
Saoud says they import packed fish from overseas like Portugal and Spain. Fish, such as anchovies and mackerel, are caught, smoked, and packed in oil immediately.
Saoud says it is one of the freshest ways to enjoy seafood. They plate it like a charcuterie board with some break, lemon, and sides.
As you walk into the restaurant, you pass their retail wine selection. Saoud says they choose only natural wines to import from places across the world, especially the Middle East.
You can purchase the wine like a retail store or buy a bottle and uncork it there.
“I think our bigger picture was have a really cool, fun neighborhood spot where it was a nice fun destination where you can get good wine and also eat delicious food," Saoud said.
Cheers to that!