After running their business out of a pop-up shop, three long-time friends and Gaithersburg natives are opening a permanent location in Bethesda.
Dalia’s Falafel has operated out of a warehouse in Kensington for two years as a pop-up shop. The owners Ben Assaraf, Kevin Gill and Cody Chatham will open a permanent location at 7750 Georgetown Road, the former site of M & N’s Pizza. They plan to open by early March.
For over two years, the trio operated the business out of a warehouse owned by Assaraf’s father. As popularity of their business kicked off, they decided they were ready for their own place.
The idea for the business originated from co-owner Ben Assaraf’s mother’s recipes.
“We kind of tried to find something that not many people do out here,” Assaraf said. “My mom has amazing recipes, so we started with falafels and we’re going to have a couple more things added when we open.”
The business’ current menu includes its falafel bowl, falafel pita, falafel patty and side pita. Some menu items to be added include beef kabob, vegetables, rice and French fries, Assaraf said.
“We saw that more and more people were coming to this little pop up and there’s not really much space out there either for people to park or line up. It’s a very small alleyway,” Assaraf said. “We got to the decision that we have enough clientele, and our name is out there enough to take the leap.”
The new location made the most sense to the three friends not only because of is price, but also its proximity to their alma mater, Walter Johnson High School, Chatham said.
“We did a lot of searching in Kensington, really didn’t find the right spot,” he said. “But when we stumbled upon the spot in Bethesda, it kind of just called our name … With Bethesda being so close to home with us being at Walter Johnson, it kind of was a no brainer.”
In addition to a slight expansion of its menu, the permanent location will have both indoor and outdoor dining.
Chatham said he’s been working in restaurants since he was 14 so going into a food business with his best friends was a “no-brainer.” Now he’s looking forward to the business continuing to grow.
“I’m hoping with the brick and mortar being open that we expand into newer heights and reach our goals to expand even bigger,” he said. “So, this isn’t just a one and done thing. This is a thing that we can see keep growing.”