Uptown at dusk

Falafel Café set to reopen at Uptown in University Circle

Falafel Café, a popular University Circle restaurant for 18 years before closing in fall 2018, is returning to the cultural district.

Elhani LLC, owner of the Middle Eastern restaurant, has signed a three-year lease with options to extend that term for space in Uptown Cleveland formerly occupied by Simply Greek.

Company principal Mae Elassal, who founded the restaurant with her late husband, Hani, is eyeing an early to mid-March reopening.

The restaurant had closed Oct. 31, 2018, when its lease with a different landlord wasn’t renewed. At the time, the intent was to move to a larger University Circle location, but Hani’s untimely death delayed those plans, Elassal said.

“We were in University Circle when nobody was there. We’ve witnessed all this change there,” she said. “That’s why I want to go back, because I love my customers.”

Falafel Café will feature much the same classic Mediterranean menu of soups and salads, pita sandwiches, plus a few additions—a cauliflower sandwich with tahini sauce, an eggplant sandwich with tomato sauce and more vegan options, including desserts.  

“We are pleased to provide Mae the opportunity to reopen her restaurant in Uptown,” said Kevin Slesh, the university’s director of real estate, who managed lease negotiations. “Falafel Café was a University Circle pioneer, a staple, and we’re thrilled to see its return.”