I chanced upon this little tucked away place in Marietta on my way. There was a big sign saying “Jerusalem Bakery” so naturally, my curiosity arose. As I got closer, I saw there were two side by side establishments under the same banner. Making a detour, I walked into the bakery waiting to discover what it was all about.
Soon I was surrounded by rows of fresh breads, cookies, baklava and warbats. There was also a cooler with Safed cheese, soft drinks and some grocery items. As I walked closer to the counter, I noticed pies (or Israeli pizzas), pockets (calzones) fresh out of the oven, Harisah (semolina dessert soaked in honey) and a lot more.
Family owned and operated, the owner Tariq makes everything from scratch every single day. No wonder you can taste the freshness in the baked items. He also supplies pita bread to restaurants in Atlanta and the South East. Most of his business comes from the bakery, he says.
As I made my way next door, I realized there was a full fledged restaurant. A few tables in a very casual setting, Styrofoam plates and plastic forks is what you got. There is an open kitchen with self service counter where the aroma teases you.
I asked Tariq to serve me his specialties since I wasn’t well aware of Israeli cuisine. Apparently, I was wrong! When I saw this huge platter of hummus, babaganoush, tabbouleh salad, olives, falafal and pita, I felt on familiar territory. He also brought out a platter of chicken and beef shawarmas, rice and grilled chicken. The chicken was seasoned with a special spice blend that Tariq’s brother makes in Israel and is top secret! The shawarmas were well cooked, juicy and tender. To me, none of these were new dishes but the flavors differed somewhat from that of Turkish, Lebanese, or Greek cuisines.
What I discovered today was that Israel has had influences of the Middle East, Europe and the Mediterranean making it a culinary melting pot. It’s cuisine, therefore happens to be very similar to that of the surrounding areas and you won’t be very surprised by a Jewish restaurant.
Tariq has tried to cater to the American as well as his Israeli clientele. He makes sandwiches and pizzas with a Jewish twist, and serves to regular patrons for weekdays lunches. He also offers platters of kebabs (chicken, beef, lamb), kufta, grilled meats and shawarma sandwiches. Vegetarian can opt for the Jerusalem vegetarian sampler which is a combination of the appetizers. For his more traditional clients, he caters a whole lamb made to order (for about $350) which is quite popular at special occasions.
Alpharetta Location Marietta Location
4150 Old Milton PKWY 585 Franklin Road, Suite 160
Alpharetta, GA 30005 Marietta, GA 30067