I have a soft spot for entrepreneurs. I have a soft spot for immigrants. And, I have a very soft spot for falafel.
So, imagine my joy when I discovered yesterday Jake’s Falafel Corner and heard an amazing story about survival.
I was filling up on gas, saw the shop’s sign down the block, and decided that I was hungry. On a whim, I went in as I had some time before a fancy non-profit fundraising dinner, during which you eat late after a long cocktail hour.
I’ve found the perfect falafel. Seriously. I went to Israel for a quick business trip a decade ago. I fell in love with falafel there. And, I’ve been on a hunt ever since to find something comparable.
Jake’s is extremely good. Light, not greasy, crisp. I also had the beef shashlik (I’ve been looking for comparable stuff ever since I had some at an outdoor market in Moscow in 1989….). Also, super good.
I told the owner how awesome his food was, and after some polite chit-chat, he told me his story.
He fled Iran in 1983, as he was about to be forcibly taken to fight in the miserable Iran-Iraq War. He fled through the mountains of Turkey, and after staying there and in Austria, he made his way to Boston. He majored in electrical engineering at Northeastern.
But, his passion has always been cooking. Now that his children are older, he has decided to open a restaurant. He says business is slowly picking up, but he’s not doing it for the money. He’s confident things will improve.
No joke: run, don’t walk. Excellent food. Jake says that everything is prepared on-premises–he doesn’t buy frozen or pre-made stuff. And, his Yelp reviews show it. He is such a genuinely nice person, too.