This week's pit(a) stop was at the newly opened Naf Naf Grill in the US Bank Plaza downtown Minneapolis. I've heard many refer to the restaurant as the "Chipotle of Middle Eastern Food" because it allows each guest to customize their dish as it is assembled in front of you, which is a little ironic considering the chain actually got its start operating out of an old run down Taco Bell.
The original co-founders, Sahar and Elan, were nice enough to walk me through how Naf Naf got it's start, as well as give me a firsthand look at their state-of-the-art meat machinery. Don't worry, that last part surprisingly wasn't as scary as it sounds.
Where most restaurants buy their meat frozen and warm it up on a grill, Naf Naf's poultry and beef is roasted slowly throughout the day. The shawarma and falafel is award-winning for good reason as customers are only given the best shavings to make the perfect bowl or pita sandwich. I was skeptical at first, but it was incredible. What was even more heavenly however, was their hand rolled pillow-like pita bread. My mouth waters just thinking about it! All of Naf Naf's pita is made in-house with fresh ingredients. I loved it so much in fact that Sahar and Elan sent me home with enough to fill a duffle bag. Personally, I would stop in to Naf Naf for the pita alone, but with all the extra tasty stuff on the menu why would you want to?
Regardless of what you order, be sure to ask for a side of Naf fries. These thin potato crisps were a refreshing take on the basic French fry and similar to the pita bread, I couldn't get enough. If I haven't sold you on the meat and bread, don't worry! These guys put just as much Naf love into their hand-cut salads, so either way you can't go wrong.
If you work downtown, stop by US Bank Plaza. I promise this place is sure to become one of your new favorite lunch spots. Plus Sahar clued me in on plans for more Minnesota locations to open soon too, including Maple Grove and Eden Prairie. Check them out online!