First Look

With Mamoun's Falafel, Uptown Gets a New Spot for Fast, Cheap, Vegetarian-Friendly Fare

Mamoun's Falafel opened Feb. 10 in West Village.
Mamoun's Falafel opened Feb. 10 in West Village. Beth Rankin
There are, as often happens in fits and spurts, a lot of restaurants opening in Dallas. But it feels as if the majority of new restaurants — or at least the ones that get all the press — aren't exactly affordable in a city with modest increases in median income but ever-skyrocketing housing costs. If there's one part of the city where you aren't likely to hear a lot of philosophizing about income versus cost of living, it's the shopping-heavy Uptown mixed-use development West Village. Which is why it's all the more refreshing to see a new restaurant there that's equal parts affordable, quick and healthy-ish.

Mamoun's Falafel, yet another New York-imported fast-casual Mediterranean eatery that caters to both lunch-eaters and late-night booze hounds, recently opened in West Village between a "chocolate lounge" and a sushi restaurant. You could see this as yet another trendy franchise seeping into city limits, or you could see it as we did: a new eatery where Dallasites can get a decent meal for less than $7, an increasing rarity in this city.

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Even Mamoun's color scheme might remind you of other Dallas Mediterranean franchises.
Beth Rankin
"Known for being New York’s oldest falafel restaurant and the fastest-growing Middle Eastern fast casual concept in North America," according to a press release, Mamoun's first Texas location serves much of what you'd find at any Mamoun's: fast-casual falafel, hummus, shawarma and kebobs. The 45-year-old concept, which started in Greenwich Village in 1971, is likely to remind you of franchises such as Halal Guys and the late Amsterdam Falafelshop, a chain that closed almost as quickly as it swept into Deep Ellum. It's not just overlap in the menu. It's relatively cheap and open late to bar crowds — in Mamoun's case, until 3 a.m. on weekends.

The menu is pretty straightforward: sandwiches and plates made with vegetarian-friendly anchors like falafel and omnivore options like chicken shawarma. Thanks to Mamoun's simple menu, commissary kitchen and bulk buying power, this quick bite won't set you back too much — $6.15 to $9.25 for a sandwich and, at most, $14.95 for a kafta kebob plate.

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The West Village, falafel, baba ganouj, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and tahini sauce for $6.15.
Beth Rankin
On our first visit, we opted for the namesake falafel in sandwich form, ordering a riff called the West Village that's made with baba ganouj, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and tahini sauce. The $6.15 sandwich was large enough to constitute a meal, for sure, with the falafel appropriately salty and crunchy despite the sauces seeping onto the yellow basket below.

There are also sides, such as lentil soup ($3.75), housemade spiced iced tea ($2), and Middle Eastern desserts such as baklava and knafe (both $2.95). Food comes out quickly and easily caters to the meat-free. It's not the healthiest thing you'll find in West Village, but it's far from the unhealthiest. We left feeling full but not in need of a post-lunch nap.

Mamoun's Falafel isn't groundbreaking food, but it's solid, quick and affordable. That's a lot harder to find around Dallas these days, so we'll take it where we can.

3839 McKinney Ave. (West Village)
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Beth Rankin is an Ohio native and Cicerone-certified beer server who specializes in social media, food and drink, travel and news reporting. Her belief system revolves around the significance of Topo Chico, the refusal to eat crawfish out of season and the importance of local and regional foodways.
Contact: Beth Rankin