Mile End fast-casual restaurant Falafel Yoni is hauling its crowd-pleasing hummus and deep-fried chickpea balls to the Sud-Ouest. Co-owner Yoni Amir, after which the restaurant is eponymously named, says with a lease now in hand, a second Falafel Yoni location is primed to open on Wellington Street come summer.
The second location, like the first, is the result of a collaboration between Amir and chef Daniel Maislin, who, according to Amir, is “beaming” at the thought of opening in Verdun. Maislin lived in the area during the early years of his relationship with his now-wife. “So he’s really excited about the prospect of going to work every day in his old neighbourhood.”
But that’s not the only reason why the Wellington Street locale proved attractive to the pair. Amir explains that, like the original Falafel Yoni on St-Viateur Street, the second location strikes that delicate balance of being on a main artery, but also in a largely residential neighbourhood, which has proven crucial to their survival in the pandemic era.
“Pre-pandemic, one of the things we’d hear often was, ‘You’re right near [video game developer] Ubisoft, so you must do so well.’ But since the pandemic came about, it was really interesting to see that we were able to not only survive, but continue to kind of do quite well, and that is very much on account of us being supported by an actual community, and not just because of Ubisoft.”
Falafel Yoni first opened on St-Viateur Street in 2018, adjacent to British pub Bishop & Bagg, from which it sublets its space. It became a quick hit among the community for its pared-down menu of $10 Israeli-style falafel pitas and salads.
Denizens of Verdun can expect a similar minimalist look, though still a playful feel at the new space, on account of it being designed once more by David Dworkind of MRDK. The one difference: The kitchen will be bigger in hopes that it can operate as ground zero for the operation, with the chickpea goods — crafted and ready to fry — being shipped out to the Mile End on the daily.
Falafel Yoni’s second location, in Verdun, is expected to open this summer at 4549 Wellington Street.