Biodegradable Vegetarian Spot To Fill Former Falafel Factory

Crisp, an eclectic fusion of Mediterranean and vegetarian recipes with falafel and hummus being the focus, will soon be replacing the closed Falafel Factory at 32 S. 18th Street (an 1, 100-square-foot space). According to David Rager, (marketer at Crisp) product quality will set them apart from the former owners. I talked to Rager to see just how Crisp got started and heard quite an interesting story.

Owners Alon Kruvi (a third-generation Israeli falafel man) and Rakesh Barmecha (a New York businessman originally from Israel, but of Indian descent) met about five years ago when Barmecha was visiting Israel and ate in Kruvi’s restaurant. Meeting each other after Barmecha’s meal, they soon realized that they had actually attended the same high school. Within a couple of years, the pair launched the first Crisp at 43rd St. & 3rd Ave. in New York City (there are now three locations in NYC).

The outpouring of love and loyalty from customers impressed both men. Lines wound around the block in 95-degree weather and no one was complaining! Not surprisingly, franchising enquiries started pouring in, but Kruvi and Barmecha have held off… until now. Philadelphia will be the first franchise for Crisp, and Vlad Uchenik will be running the show. Uchenik was a customer of Crisp who lives in Philly and was commuting to NYC for work- looks like his commute is about to get a little easier.

NYC Crisp

Look for a Philly-focused specialty to go with the number of unique items on their menu. As for what that will be, <cheesesteak, cough cough> we’ll give you two guesses and the first two don’t count. How they’ll make that vegetarian is anybody’s guess. With already-established house specialties like their International Signature Sandwiches that are served in a customized “Handbag” (it zips!) making them easier to take-out and eat, we are so excited for the arrival of Crisp to Philadelphia. They will also be offering delivery and corporate catering. Oraya Studios will be creating the space and Crisp is tentatively scheduled for completion by the end of July. —Kaitlin Bostwick