Named after Tel Aviv’s main street, Dizengoff brings an Israeli take to the burgeoning fast-casual Mediterranean market. The Philadelphia-based concept specializes in hummus meals topped with seasonal Israeli ingredients.
Dizengoff is the product of James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook of Philadelphia restaurant group CookNSolo Restaurants, which also operates growing fried chicken and doughnut brand Federal Donuts. With a second location that launched in May, Dizengoff plans to continue expanding. Here’s a look at why Dizengoff is a concept to watch.
Solomonov focused on Dizengoff’s signature hummus at CookNSolo’s upscale full-service Mediterranean restaurant Zahav. Customer acclaim for Zahav’s hummus led the multiconcept operation to launch a counter-service restaurant centered on hummus, making it the star of the plate rather than an appetizer like at Zahav. Each meal at Dizengoff starts with a base of hummus that’s topped with seasonal ingredients and served with a pita, chopped salad and Israeli pickles. Menus and hummus varieties change daily, but restaurants always offer at least three types of hummus: one plain (Tehina), one with veggies and one with meat.
An Israeli native, Solomonov modeled Dizengoff after hummisiyas, or hummus stalls found on the streets of Israel. In addition to hummus meals, Dizengoff also serves a rotating selection of Israeli-style side salads called salatim, Israeli frozen mint lemonade and Israeli wines by the glass. Shakshuka—eggs cooked in spicy tomato sauce and served in a cast-iron skillet—is available for breakfast and weekend brunch.
Dizengoff runs on fresh ingredients. Hummus is made throughout the day and served at room temperature, giving it a smoother consistency than refrigerated hummus. Farm-fresh hummus toppings change daily to emphasize seasonal ingredients, with options ranging from avocado with peanut harissa to braised lamb with rhubarb and lime. Pitas are prepared in-house and baked in a wood-burning oven.
Dizengoff’s limited menu and use of fresh ingredients allow it to keep its kitchen compact and operate in a small footprint. The original location measures 600 square feet, while the New York site is slightly larger but still small enough to operate in the Chelsea Market food hall. Both units are takeaway-focused to get customers in and out as quickly as possible and increase the number of tickets. Technomic estimates that Dizengoff’s average unit volume is $1.3 million, with an estimated check average of $13.50.
Dizengoff’s small footprint, limited menu and ethnic positioning make it prime for expansion. CookNSolo has raised at least $1.5 million in private-equity funding, which Cook said could be used to open up to six Dizengoff locations. Cook also said the group potentially plans to open more New York City sites.