Zahav-ians Mike Solomonov and Steve Cook keep the Israeli vibes going in Center City with Merkaz, their pita sandwich shop and cafe, opening Nov. 25 at 1218 Sansom St., next to Fergie’s Pub and just down Sansom from El Vez.
The bright Merkaz, which means “center" in Hebrew, opens at 8 a.m. daily with breakfast and coffee (with hummus foul, shakshuka, egg in a pita, and za’atar pita toast) and segues into lunch-y foods (the fried-eggplant creation called Sabich (a cauliflower sandwich), schnitzel, lamb, mixed grill, at 11 a.m.
Food, much of which is cleverly served in metal kitchen pans, is under the direction of chef Henry Morgan, longtime chef of Dizengoff, the partners’ hummus-themer four blocks away.
The post-11 a.m. menu includes warm, made-to-order pita sandwiches, hummus, and salatim (cooked vegetable salads) as well as prepared meals to-go. Closing time is 7 p.m.
The whole setup, with ordering at the counter, some seating, a simple menu, and a heavy use of takeout, reminds me of Dizengoff with a light nod to Goldie, their nearby falafel shop.
Next on the CookNSolo plate is Laser Wolf, a grill restaurant in the Zahav spirit, at 1301 N. Howard St. in Kensington. It’s expected to open this winter.