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Strategy: This falafel chain is poised to take over New York with the help of former Chipotle execs — here’s what it’s like to eat there
PublishedBy: in Business Insider/StrategyApril 11, 2018

We went to the second Taïm location in New York City, in Nolita.

Falafel chain Taïm has partnered with Chipotle veterans to take over NYC — here's what its like to eat there.

  • New York City-based falafel chain Taïm is poised to take over Manhattan.
  • Founders Einat Admony and Stefan Nafziger have partnered with an investment group spearheaded by Chipotle veterans to plot an expansion.
  • The chain recently opened its third location in New York, and two more are on the way.

After more than a decade in business, beloved New York City-based falafel chain Taïm is starting to expand.

Chef Einat Admony and Stefan Nafziger opened their first Taïm (pronounced "tah-eem," Hebrew for "tasty" or "delicious") restaurant in 2005. The fast-casual chain stays true to its founders' roots by specializing in Israeli food, serving falafel, hummus, and Israeli salad on pita or as a platter. It also serves a variety of salads, french fries, and other side dishes.

There are three Taïm restaurants operating in Manhattan, with an additional two in the works. The West Village location was the first to open, followed by outposts in Nolita and now, Midtown East, at the Urbanspace Food Hall. The Financial and Flatiron Districts will be the next neighborhoods to welcome the Israeli chain, with the Financial District location set to open in early July.

Eventually, Taïm will likely expand beyond New York and into other markets such as Washington, DC, according to Restaurant Hospitality. To aid in its expansion, the founders of Taïm have partnered with an investment group spearheaded by Chipotle vets Phil Petrilli and Bethany Strong.

We recently visited Taïm's second outpost in the Nolita neighborhood of New York City. Here's what it's like to eat there:

The Taïm I went to was in the Nolita neighborhood in NYC. Across the street was one of its top Mediterranean-food competitors, Cava.

It was packed when I arrived just after noon.

The menu had a few types of falafel that you can order on a pita or platter. It also had salads, fries, sides, and smoothies. Everything was generally priced around $8 to $12.

Everything looked delicious. Like many fast-casual chains in the era of Chipotle, everything is prepared at the counter in front of you.

I ordered the traditional falafel on a pita with Israeli salad — made from tomato and cucumber — and hummus, and mint green tea to drink. There were a ton of people working behind the counter, so everything moved quickly.

On the back of the menu was more information about the food they're serving and where it comes from.

The food took less than five minutes to prepare, and everything looked delicious.

The pita was fresh and warm, and the falafel was perfectly cooked. There was a good balance between the falafel, salad, hummus, and tahini. I could see why everybody raves about it.

The restaurant stayed crowded the entire time I was there.

There were also people who were picking up their online orders and taking their food to go.

It's no wonder why Taïm has already seen so much success. The long line moved quickly, my food was made in no time, and everything tasted fantastic.

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