WRIGLEYVILLE — When the Okab brothers moved to Chicago from Jerusalem, they found the options for Middle Eastern foods disappointing.
For some reason, the spices or ingredients were off, said Mike Okab.
"We found a lot of places that said Middle Eastern food, but I don't know why they didn't use some materials — maybe money or so on," he said. "They don't have Middle Eastern food in their food."
So, Sam and Mike Okab decided to open their own place focusing on the flavors they grew up with. Zam Zam Middle Eastern Grill, 3461 N. Clark St., is expected to open next week, Okab said.
The two were born and raised in Jerusalem and came here to attend the University of Illinois at Chicago when they were 18. Both worked in the food industry back at home and in the United States.
Mike Okab wouldn't say what spices make their falafels, shawarmas and tabbouleh salads more authentic — "that's our secret," he said — but their recipes would more closely match those back home, he said.
"We love our food," he said of Middle Eastern flavors. "We believe a lot of people deserve and have the right to taste it."
Prices will range from less than $5 for a falafel sandwich to just under $9 for shawarma or kabob plates.
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