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At Hollywood's Newly Opened Rami's Pita & Grill the Shawarma Sells Out Fast

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When you walk into newly-opened Rami's Pita & Grill in Hollywood the first thing you notice past the crowd at the order counter and giant rotating spit of meat that takes center stage in the open kitchen prep area beyond is chef-owner Rami Achiel.

You can head to Rami's for its gyros, falafel, and hummus but it's the lamb shawarma you'll want to order, meat that's delivered fresh each day, then prepped, seasoned, and cooked in-house by Rami himself. Throughout the day, the self-proclaimed Israeli grill master will chip shavings from the giant block of meat to-order, the remainder kept heated and spinning until it's gone.

At Rami's, that happens fairly quickly. The eatery may only be a few weeks old, but already the lamb shawarma has become so popular it's only served on Monday and Wednesday.

Achiel himself is something of a local celebrity, and he makes some of the best lamb shawarma in South Florida. Although he's been cooking for decades at area restaurants, the two-week-old fast-casual-style Israeli restaurant off Sterling Road is Rami's first solo venture, says his wife Ariella. 

"He has quite a following," says Ariella. "When people heard he was opening his own place, they started coming like this. People as far as Miami and West Palm Beach."

Ariella says the lamb typically sells out within hours, and Rami will go through two spits each day, shaving meat for customers that line up at the glass-covered counter to watch as the proprietor serves the meat by the platter (plated with a selection of accompaniments for $21.99), sandwich (served on a baguette for $14.99), or a wrap (served on pita bread for $12.99).

This stuffed-to-bursting sandwich or wrap is a little different from other renditions you'll find in the area, but it's all the better for it. Rami's sandwich arrives cocooned in a sheet of deli paper and tinfoil, a meal offering a plethora of flavors that can be customized with tabbouleh, tahini, and pickled turnips, and topped with diced tomato, cucumber, and a sweet amba — a sort of Mediterranean-style mango chutney.

At Rami's, the pita sandwich comes with cucumber and tomato dressed in a creamy yogurt sauce, and a generous portion of thick-cut lamb that's been smothered with the restaurant's homemade hummus. The meat is tender, fragrant, and fatty enough to yield a satisfying chew. You can order it on a fresh-baked baguette for a larger portion or — how we like it — on the traditional pita wrap, a doughy pocket that soaks up the moisture from the hummus-covered lamb until the bread sags from the weight of all those juices.

"It can get a little messy, and the lines can get long on Monday and Wednesday," says Ariella. "But everyone seems to think it's worth the wait."

Rami's Pita & Grill is located at 3000 Stirling Rd., Hollywood. Call 954-251-1799, or visit Ramispita.com.

Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.

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