"You can never say where falafel is from," said Alidz Alexandrian, owner of the recently opened, What the Falafel street food spot at 51 Division Street in Sag Harbor. "The Turkish are going to say it's theirs. The Lebanese will say it's theirs. There are so many styles of falafel."
One thing can be said about falafel in Sag Harbor, however. It is a welcome new vegetarian and vegan takeout option.
Ms. Alexandrian, an Armenian who was born and raised in Lebanon, prepares hers in the Lebanese style, which she says, comes down to a more balanced mixture of chickpeas to cilantro and parsley and the blend of spices used.
Falafel is one of the world's oldest street foods, but What the Falafel is the first South Fork establishment to make it its specialty. Ms. Alexandrian comes from a restaurant family. "We lived in the city for 10 years, working in our family-owned Lebanese Armenian fine dining restaurant. The lease was going to end but we didn't plan to renew. My husband was managing and when searching for a new job, was hired by Baron's Cove as general manager, so we moved out here in 2019." The Alexandrians have an 8-year-old daughter who attends Sag Harbor Elementary School.
They're not just jumping into the concept. They tried it out first with a "ghost kitchen" based in Ithaca, N.Y. A ghost kitchen is not attached to a physical space, instead, it's for takeout only. Also known as a "cloud kitchen," it shares another restaurant's kitchen. "It worked out very well," said Ms. Alexandrian. "We've been up in Cayuga for a year now."
"We bake the pita in house every day. Everything is done on the spot, fresh daily. Our falafels are made from scratch, nothing comes pre-made from the outside."
Falafel is often fried, but for the health conscious, Ms. Alexandrian offers a baked falafel wrap. Avoiding gluten or carbs? A falafel bowl could be the answer.
Aside from the expected falafel sandwiches, the menu includes hummus options, falafel salad bowls, and even a popular vegan tahini shake.
Made of sesame, almond milk, and sugar, it's a surprising dessert. "You would never think it would taste how it does. Every person can't believe how good it is," said Ms. Alexandrian.
If you're trying to wean your children from chicken nuggets, you could find a worse way than with Ms. Alexandrian's falafel dippers, which come in boxes of six or 12 with pita bread and dipping sauces.
The Alexandrians' minimalistic website, at wtfalafel.co allows for ordering through the toast app. Scheduled orders are a convenient option and they're partnering with DoorDash and Uber Eats. You'll pay $15 for most falafel sandwiches and $15 to $18 for one of the green bowls.
Ms. Alexandrian said chalkboard specials will soon supplement their online menu and will only be available to walk-in customers. They will be open year-round. Current hours are Tuesday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.