Falafel bowls, curry ketchup and more locations for Amsterdam Falafelshop

August 23, 2013

Amsterdam Falafelshop's forthcoming 14th Street location won't just boost the neighborhood's late-night dining options: It will also feature an expanded version of the rapidly franchising restaurant's menu. Arianne Bennett, the president and CEO of Amsterdam Falafelshop, said that the newest location, expected to open in early 2014 at 1830 14th Street NW, will add falafel bowls and a new curry ketchup to the popular falafel-and-frites menu of the Adams Morgan flagship.

Falafel and frites at Amsterdam Falafelshop in Adams Morgan, one of Weekend and Going Out Guide readers' favorite eats. (Photo by Jason Berger The Washington Post) Falafel and frites at Amsterdam Falafelshop in Adams Morgan. (Photo by Jason Berger The Washington Post)

Bennett says they've been offering the bowls and curry ketchup at the shop's Boston and Annapolis locations, and with so many people avoiding gluten these days, they've proven to be popular: 35 percent of Boston customers are opting for the bowls, Bennett says. The bowls will be priced by weight, according to the market price for vegetables that season; recently, the bowls sold for $7.35 a pound, with extra falafel balls $1 each. They've also introduced curry ketchup, a popular flavor in the Netherlands, in addition to the available Dutch mayonnaise, peanut sauce and regular ketchup already available. As previously reported, they're also hoping for permission to sell canned beer.

So why can't we try these menu additions at the Adams Morgan location, already? There isn't enough room, says Bennett, not even for the additional flavor of ketchup in their dispenser. Falafel fans will have to wait until the opening next year, or make the trek to Annapolis to see what they're missing.

The 14th Street store, where the exterior of the restaurant will be painted "like an Amsterdam canal house," isn't the only new falafel shop in the works. Bennett says she is close to signing the paperwork on another D.C. location, and while she can't divulge the location, she offers this hint: "It will be more of a 9-to-5 location. It won't be in an entertainment district, it will be more in business-land," she said.

Bennett is also looking into opening shops at BWI and in Fairfax. Meanwhile, Amsterdam's growth continues across the country, as initial steps have been taken toward four more locations in Boston and restaurants in Salt Lake City and in Texas.

Bennett doesn't expect the restaurant's quickly expanding franchise empire to affect the health of the original restaurant. "We weren't affected by the other similar places that opened in Adams Morgan," she said, referring to the nearby Shawarma Spot. "These are two separate, distinct neighborhoods, with two distinct groups of destination traffic that comes to them."

She and her husband, Scott, are also adjusting to their new roles as franchisers, a transition that has been two and a half years in the making.

"It's easy to be a restaurateur if that's what you know, but you have to be a person who can teach other people to be restaurateurs," said Bennett. "We hope that all of our franchisees can have that experience."

Maura Judkis covers culture, food, and the arts for the Weekend section and Going Out Guide.
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