Get ready for Atlanta’s first contemporary Israeli restaurant. Chef Todd Ginsberg — along with his partners Ben and Jennifer Johnson and Shelley Sweet — plan to open Yalla alongside their previously announced sandwich shop, Fred’s Meat & Bread, in the new Krog Street Market complex. The foursome currently operate The General Muir, a high-end deli that was one of the best received Atlanta newcomers of 2013.
Yalla means “let’s go.”
“It will be right next door to Fred’s,” says Ginsberg, “We’ll have different salads and pickles, kebabs, falalfel, schwarma, and tons of vegetables.” He also plans to serve sabich — a pita sandwich filled with fried eggplant, hard-boiled egg and a pungent sauce called amba that is a bit of a national obsession in Israel.
The burgeoning restaurant group’s head baker, Rob Alexander, will prepare fresh pita and laffa (thinner, larger-in-diameter flatbreads) daily for the sandwiches. Like Fred’s, this restaurant will offer counter service and communal seating shared with other eateries in the complex.
As inspiration, Ginsberg looks to Zahav, chef Michael Solomonov‘s modern Israeli restaurant in Philadelphia, which has garnered great national reviews. He also plans to visit Israel for the first time to research the food. “As a kid, my only experience with Israeli cooking was when I visited my uncle’s house in Florida,” Ginsberg admits.
Documentary filmmaker Roger Sherman, whose is preparing an upcoming PBS series, “The Search for Israeli Cuisine,” has given him a long list of places to visit.
What’s Israeli cuisine? Check out the preview of Sherman’s series below: