LAKEVIEW — A Highland Park eatery is hoping its "real shawarma" and Mediterranean cuisine can succeed in a space where meatball heroes and healthy subs flopped.
Mizrahi Grill will open at 3037 N. Clark St. in the spring, said owner Eli Mizrahi. The restaurant has also launched a Facebook page for Mizrahi on Clark.
The Mizrahi family opened the grill nine years ago in Highland Park, using family recipes perfected over generations.
The restaurant offers healthy, certified Kosher meals that use fresh ingredients and spices brought in from Israel, where the Mizrahi family came from three generations ago.
"Our shawarma is our specialty because we're working with these spices," Mizrahi said. "We figured out that our spices should be from home. I think it adds to the authenticity of the dishes."
The Lakeview location will have a condensed menu from the original restaurant, primarily focused on shawarma and falafel, Mizrahi said.
In Highland Park, Mizrahi Grill offers falafel, shawarma, kabob and schnitzel sandwiches. The skirt steak in a laffa wrap is the most expensive at $19, while a falafel-stuffed pita is $7.
Entrees include "Mom's" beef and lamb kabobs, a $27 rib eye, grilled chicken and the house specialty: marinated turkey and lamb shawarma. For appetizers, Mizrahi serves up eight falafel balls for $5, Moroccan Cigars (vegetable-stuffed filo dough) for $6 and a Kubeh cracked wheat dumpling filled with ground beef for $7.
Salads and a kid's menu of hot dogs, chicken tenders and hamburgers are also offered.
For Hannukah, the restaurant offers special dishes like latkes and sufganiot, jelly doughnuts eaten during the Jewish festival.
Mizrahi's Highland Park location has favorable reviews on Yelp, with 161 reviews giving it an average 4 of 5 stars. Some, though, criticized its use of pickles in a shawarma sandwich and slow service. Others praised the authentic and fresh flavors and generous portions.
Meatball Hero & Pasta closed in July 2016, one year after it replaced Sandwich Me In.
The casual Italian eatery offered stuffed meatball subs and pasta dishes for under $10, but struggled to gain a following.
The zero-waste Sandwich Me In closed in April 2015 after three years in business. Its former storefront, just south of Clark, Halsted and Barry, is flanked by time-tested favorites like Clark Street Dog and a strip mall of national brands like Peet's Coffee, Pizza Hut and Subway.
The section of Clark Street on Lakeview's south end has some walkability issues. As the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce awaits funding to reshape the streetscape, it has looked for small ways to improve the corridor with embellishments like curbside cafes.