Maoz Vegetarian Expands into Midtown


It looks like Sahara Grill, the old Turkish take out place on 40th & 7th that closed in January, is being replaced by a branch of Maoz Vegetarian- the European falafel chain. Maoz has locations all over the world, including three in NYC, but this is their first in Midtown; and while I haven’t tried it yet, Serious Eats:New York called it the best falafel in Union Square. The positives: you get your choice of some tasty looking toppings (like eggplant, hard boiled egg, avocado, or feta) and they have Belgian fries (the chain started in Amsterdam).  The negatives: another small, individually owned Midtown Lunch place is being replaced by a chain.

I doubt it will supplant Olympic Pita (on 38th btw. 5+6th) as my favorite falafel in the area- but it does set up the inevitable Maoz vs. Crisp falafel chain showdown.  Crisp’s second location is opening just down the street at the end of the week (on 40th btw. 6+B’way).  No word yet on when Maoz will be opening.


  • My little corner of midtown has turned into falafelland. Olympic, Crisp, Taim all within 2 blocks of each other. All good in different ways, too. One side effect I pray for is that the new competition makes Olympic step up their service. Place employs slower and surlier jews than an Israeli Plumbers Union

  • If done right this kind of operation can be very cheap to operate. Potatoes for “Belgian fries” are cheap
    Chickpeas are cheap
    No expensive meat on the menu

    Just don’t allow unlimited condiments
    I know places that do (pollo places and falafel too) and I load up on condiments tremendously

  • Finally the garment district is getting some love

  • Wayne: Where is there a Taim in midtown? That is one of my top choices for falafel!

    I don’t really like Maoz (even though it seems like a lot of people do) because their falafel balls are dense and heavy. I think a lot of people like them because of the toppings. Olympic Pita and Azuri are much tastier. I never had Crisp.

  • Amazing News. This is simply the best falafel in the city…. I have been a lover for many years, as I would visit Amsterdam. Read more here….

  • OOOPS – did I say Taim? I meant Maoz, as Zach reported. But I really like Taim. Maoz is just OK. I WISH there was a Taim coming, that would blow them all out of the water.

  • Is Wholesome Wraps (next to Sahara in the picture) also closed? I liked that place a lot! At least Labeleca pizza is still open — their chicken parm (which I discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch) is the best!

  • Maoz is great — overpriced, yes, but the salad bar has an amazing variety of pickles, olives, dips and spreads, etc. And the sandwiches are huge. I still can’t figure out why the one on B’way near 70th won’t deliver to my UWS apt in the 80s or my midtown office in the 50s despite the SeamlessWeb decal on their door. Any ideas?

  • Lisa: Just because there’s a Seamless web decal doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll deliver to your address. A lot of restaurants have strict delivery zones and won’t budge from it. There’s a place that won’t deliver to me even though I live just two blocks North of them because I’m half a block West of their delivery zone. I live a lot closer to them than other places in their delivery zone. But they won’t make the allowance.

  • @ andre mika: totally agree dude. i first came across maoz when i was traveling in amsterdam and it definitely satisfied my “munchies.” was psyched when first one opened in u. sq. love that you can keep refilling with condiments. allows you to get so much more mileage out of a single falafel pita and can dress up different layers in different styles. crisp vs. maoz will be good showdown. my bet is crisp wins in specialty falafel category given its innovative creations and size. maoz wins on traditional cart-like falafel category with its array of condiments.

  • It can be a really cheap lunch. I used to feast at Maoz once per week. I would get the salad bowl, no eggplant or hummus mind you. Pay at the register, it was $7.00+.

    But I got to fill with whatever I can at the bar. If you can hide the shame of overfilling, then go ahead! I stuffed my salad box till I could barely snap it shut. I saw some guy pile it on and didn’t even close his lid…the fix-ins were on the brink of falling off… so pile on and get a soda from a deli nearby and you got yourself a 8-9 dollar lunch. Plus it’s halfway healthy.

  • hey look at that, Free Comic Book day on May 2!! (oh i’m sorry, what vegetarian nonsense were you talking about?!? :P )

  • I know it’s a chain, but I’m a sucker for Maoz. Oh this is dangerous to the wallet…

    Question for all you veteran Maozites…is it actually acceptable to refill your pita? I’ve always been vaguely terrified to refill…

  • Brownie, did you just double-dip that falafel? That’s like putting your whole mouth right in the topping trough! From now on, when you fill a falafel, just do one fill…. and end it!

  • Maoz is amazing if a little expensive. The toppings bar is amazing.

  • I truly think Maoz supercedes all these other chains and falafel vendors (they are far better than crisp on multiple levels, much healthier and tastier than all the others). Also their breakfast and dessert options are delicious. I don’t think there is one item they sell that’s not delectable. I am so happy they are opening in this neighborhood, I plan on make many visits.. CONGRATS!!

  • As long as they don’t have shady business practices like Olympic Pita does they’ll be fine. OP charged me gratuity on on a regular meal for 2 people. When asked to see where it was stated on the menu or on the wall they balked and took it off the bill. Really classless move on their part.

  • Olympic charges the tip as part of your bill so you don’t have to leave any extra on the table unless your service was particularly worthy.
    What’s wrong with that?

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