Amsterdam Falafelshop, a fast, top-your-own-dish D.C. restaurant chain, is opening its newest location in Clarendon this afternoon.
The shop, in the former BGR: The Burger Joint space at 3024 Wilson Blvd, opens to the public at 3:00 p.m. this afternoon, according to CEO Arianne Bennett, who was celebrating the new space with a friends-and-family lunch this afternoon. The location will be open until 3:00 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 2:30 a.m Tuesdays and Wednesdays and midnight on Mondays.
The eatery has been in the works for months, and Bennett said her two D.C. locations — in Adams Morgan and on 14th Street NW — were fielding calls every day asking when her first Virginia shop would open.
“When we started doing tastings outside yesterday, there was a flock of people,” Bennett said. “People have been telling us they can’t wait until we open.”
The excitement is over a simple concept: a customer walks in and orders either a falafel sandwich in a regular or wheat pita, or a falafel bowl. They can then load up with toppings like hummus, cucumbers and onions, baba ghanoush, pickled beets and cabbage, cole slaw, imported pickles, pickled turnips and pickled cauliflower. A regular sandwich costs $6.55, a small costs $5.55, and both come with unlimited toppings. A bowl is charged by weight. The shop also serves Dutch-style fries and brownies.
“Our friends moved to Amsterdam years ago, and when we visited, there were falafel shops everywhere, like pizza places here,” Bennett said. “And everyone was topping for themselves, it wasn’t done for you. So we just wanted something like that.”
The walls are covered in paintings by G. Byron Peck, the lead artist for many wall murals in D.C. There are photographs on the walls and laminated onto the tables — Bennett said they are all vacation photos from her and her husband’s trips to Amsterdam.
The Clarendon shop is the first Amsterdam Falafelshop franchise owned by David Rosenstein, but he said he has a five-franchise deal and is looking more around the D.C. area for his next shops. He’s targeting Georgetown for his second franchise, but said he wasn’t sure about the locations for the other franchises.
“We’re going to take it one store at a time,” Rosenstein said. “We’re looking for the right combination of office, housing and nightlife, and in the right spot with the right people.”