If you’re near Richardson and have $10, you have access to one of the Dallas area’s best new lunch specials.
One Hummus, a Mediterranean restaurant that opened at Belt Line Road and U.S. 75 this past spring, has a menu with a distinctive Jordanian flavor. It also has a bounty of specials: four main courses for $40, 15 pieces of falafel for only $4 and a $10 weekday lunch sandwich special.
Here’s how the lunch deal works: Choose a beef or chicken shawarma sandwich, a side order of hummus or salad, and you’ll also get seasoned fries, a cup of tahini sauce, a handful of pickle slices and a drink in the bargain. My side of hummus arrived with its own freshly-baked loaf of pita bread, too.
The sandwich is a good one. One Hummus chef Mohammed Ramadan stacks his own towers of halal meat in-house for the shawarma, slicing beef or chicken off the cone to order. Rolled up in the bread with the meat are tomatoes, red onions and a drizzle of tahini. To finish, the sandwich spends a minute crisping on the griddle. I chose beef and was pleased at strips of meat still rosy pink and tender.
One Hummus takes a page from the classic American fast-food playbook with its just-crisp fries. They’re dusted with seasoned salt and are pretty nice when dunked in the cup of tahini, or even in the easygoing hummus. I like my hummus to be garlicky and intense, but the creamy, refreshing variety here is worth having, too. Every table at One Hummus has a little bottle of olive oil to drizzle over the top, too.
The menu mentions a side order of “stuffed falafel” for $1 — an item that’s still rare in Dallas.
Asked about the stuffed falafel, owner Ahmed Khalaf explains, “That’s very common in the Middle East, but it’s not common in Dallas, and that’s one of the things that we wanted to do: Serve something unique that nobody else does.”
In addition to the usual parsley, scallions and chickpeas, One Hummus’ stuffed falafel gets injected with a squirt of ultra-peppery hot sauce before dropping into the fryer. This is, obviously, a good idea. Until hot-sauce-filled hummus is on every street corner, it’s a mandatory addition to any meal at One Hummus.
Having spent exactly $11, I left lunch barely able to stay awake. But there’s a lot more to this restaurant, including fatteh (a chickpea dip with pine nuts), jumbo shawarma platters and shraak, the Arabian flatbread.
“I’ve been dreaming of having a business a long, long time, but I’ve never been into this business before,” says Khalaf, who came to the United States from Jordan in the 1990s. “I’m an electrical engineer with IT experience.”
This is his first restaurant, but Ramadan, the chef, has worked in kitchens in Jordan for two decades.
One of Ramadan’s specialties, in addition to the hummus that he is especially proud of, is foul, the classic fava bean stew.
“Our chef does three kind of foul,” Khalaf says. “One is from the Lebanon-Jordan area, the other is from Egypt, an Egyptian foul, and the third is, you could say, something they use in North Africa. Each one is different. The foul that we do (in Jordan) is basically fava beans, the Egyptian one is with tahini, and the third one is tahini and they add tomatoes to it.”
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There’s another aspect of business at One Hummus, which deserves our praise: its commitment to the community. When the kitchen closes at 10 p.m., any leftover food that’s still edible is given to charities that serve the people who are hungry. The next morning, Ramadan and his team start over from scratch.
“Most of the time we call two Islamic centers next to us, because I know that they take food, I think for refugees,” Khalaf says. “At the end of the day we prepare the food, give it to them in closed boxes and they go ahead and distribute it to the needy people.”
That dedication to the community is another reason to visit One Hummus in Richardson — as if great deals on traditional Jordanian and Egyptian foods, including hummus and shawarma made each day, aren’t reason enough.
One Hummus, 100 S. Central Expressway, Suite 53, Richardson. Open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.