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$10 Lunch: ZaZa's in Boynton Beach

Where can you stop for lunch that's fast and fresh, with a made-to-order assembly line of locally bought ingredients?

It's not Chipotle, Moe's or Qdoba. And it's certainly not Subway.

None of the usual suspects; rather, it's ZaZa's. One part good-for-you,

one part good-to-go Middle Eastern/Mediterranean, it's a quick-stop

eatery with a unique take on some decidedly different dishes.

ZaZa's, with its flagship location in Boynton Beach, is the brainchild

of 25-year-old Omar Hammad, whose idea was born from experience -- eating

fast food, that is.

In college, while attending Babson University in Massachusetts, Hammad

said he frequented the "quick and casual" eateries around campus.

"Places like Qdoba and Chipotle. But they all had a Mexican theme," said

Hammad, of the "Fresh Mex" themed restaurant chains. "There was nothing

really fast with a Mediterranean feel."

So Hammad decided he'd fill the void. Half Egyptian, and having spent a

majority of his formative years in Marbella, Spain, his cultural roots

laid the perfect foundation for a business in fast, fresh Mediterranean


Of course, a menu's worth of family recipes straight from the homeland

didn't hurt, either.

"It's comfort food you've never had before," says Hammad, adding  the

majority of his recipes come straight from his grandparents -- Zeina and

Farouk Hammad, the Egyptian side of his family. On the menu, you'll see

Hammad's family's falafel recipe and its very own creation of Feta


For those who like dipping and dunking, ZaZa's has six signature sauces

that come paired with certain plates. Everything from the tzatziki to

the tangy tamarind is house-made.

The garlic aioli is served over Feta Fries -- a unique ZaZa creation that

gives a Mediterranean twist to an American must-have. House fries are

topped with salty, soft feta cheese, rich-flavored kalamata olives, and

spicy pepperoncini, and finished with a drizzling of Hammad's freshly

whipped garlic aioli, a zesty twist to your standard mayonnaise.

Next up for a trial taste-test: the Moroccan Cigar, another small plate

you could easily call a Mediterranean eggroll. With a medley of minced,

seasoned beef, peas, and onions served alongside the house tamarind

sauce, it's another sampling unique to ZaZa's menu. The tamarind sauce

is the focus here -- a sweet heat that accents the seasoned beef well.

The family's falafel recipe will be noticeably different to Americans familiar with the food.

ZaZa's uses split fava beans, which gives a much different taste than

the standard chickpea recipe, said Farouk. Served alongside a soupy

tahini sauce, it's a vegetarian choice on this Mediterranean menu.

The house-made fresh hummus is served standard with garlic, tahini,

lemon, and olive oil aside fresh, fried pita chips. The richness of the

olive oil combined with fresh ingredients boasts of flavor and texture.

Pair it with the house red sangria, wine, or any of the domestic and

import beers on hand, and you've got a solid meal fast to eat-in. Or

order to take home.

Small plates run no more than $4.50, while sandwiches, platters, and entree-sized salads range from $6.50 to $8.50.

Visit www.zazafresh.com, or stop by the restaurant at the Renaissance

Commons shopping plaza located at 1880 N. Congress Ave. in Boynton Beach.

The eatery is located in the northwest corner of the shopping center at

the corner of Congress and Gateway.

TEL: 561-734-1232

FAX: 561-536-5606


Sunday through Thursday 11:30 a.m - 9:30 p.m.

Friday & Saturday 11:30 a.m. - 10:30 p.m. 

Follow Clean Plate Charlie on Twitter: @CleanPlateBPB.

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Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.
Contact: Nicole Danna

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