I Dream of Falafel opens in Oakbrook Terrace
Business partners Shoaib Aziz (from left), Henry Nuguid, and Imran Kasbati are three of the four founders of I Dream of Falafel, which had its grand opening in Oakbrook Terrace Dec. 10. | Chuck Fieldman—Sun-Times Media
On the menu
Name: I Dream of Falafel
Address: 18W066 22nd St., Oakbrook Terrace
Store hours: 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday-Wednesday; 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday
Updated: December 18, 2012 2:40PM
OAKBROOK TERRACE – The first suburban location for a fast casual restaurant had its grand opening Dec. 10 in Oakbrook Terrace.
Four former college friends started I Dream of Falafel in 2009 and have three stores open in downtown Chicago. They searched carefully before choosing Oakbrook Terrace as their first suburban spot. The signed a lease in June.
“It’s an opportunity to offer Mediterranean food in this neighborhood, and there is a population around here that we believe will be interested in that,” said Shoaib Aziz, one of the four partners.
Aziz said having several other restaurants nearby should be a plus for his business.
“Having other places nearby brings food business around, and we are offering something a little different that is very good quality,” he said.
Aziz said providing fresh, quality food at reasonable prices is the focus at I Dream of Falafel. Aziz said he is not surprised to hear from others that the dining experience at his restaurant is reminiscent of going to Chipotle Mexican Grill, save the items on the menu.
“We basically use Chipotle’s model,” Aziz said, referring to customers walking through a serving line at which they choose various items to make up their final meal.
Customers first choose a “base,” which is a wrap made from freshly baked Laffa bread; or a plate that comes with rice, salad, Mediterranean dips, and pita bread. Proteins are selected next and include falafel, chicken shawerma, and various meat kebabs. The final step of the process is selecting sauces.
A variety of side dishes also are available, such as falafel, salads, soup, couscous, and stuffed grape leaves.
“We believe in the product,” Aziz said. “Providing good quality food is what it’s really all about. Our menu has something for everyone — vegan, gluten-free, low-fat, low carb, high protein — and provides a variety of slow cooked meats and vegetarian selections,” he said.
Aziz said all meats used by I Dream of Falafel are fresh, preservative-free, hormone-free, and free of additives.
The Oakbrook Terrace store is the first I Dream of Falafel location that will be open seven days a week.
“There is a lot of corporate business around here, which is very important for our lunch business,” Aziz said. “We also want to welcome people who live in the communities around here, and they are welcome to come in for lunch or dinner.”