For those not familiar, a falafel is a Middle Eastern favorite generally made from mashed chickpeas, spices such as cumin, coriander and fresh herbs. It’s formed into balls or fritters, deep-fried and eaten with or in pita bread.
What use to be thought of a niche food eaten only by vegetarians, the falafel has become increasingly more mainstream as people look for fast food options that are fresh and healthy. The fact that the falafel provides a healthier alternative on the fast food scene these days may account for some of Cathy and Roy Naor’s success at Aba’s Falafel but it probably has more to do with how good they are.
Aba’s Falafels are crispy and crunchy on the outside and moist and crumbly on the inside. The falafel is topped with homemade tahini and served with a salad of diced onions, cucumbers and tomato and your choice of pickles, hot peppers, a spicy chili sauce, a tangy mango curry sauce or all of the above. Just thinking about it is making my mouth water.
Not only is the falafel packed with flavor but it is vegan too and if you opt out of the pitas (specially made for them in the city), it’s carb and gluten free too.
The end result is delicious and you’ll understand why the lines are long and worth waiting in.
Cathy and Roy Naor came to the United States from Israel 12 years ago and the one thing they missed the most was the food. “We loved the farmers’ market in Rhinebeck and really enjoyed hanging out there. It was the perfect place for a falafel stand.” Unfortunately, at that time the Rhinebeck Farmers market had no openings, so they went to Woodstock where they were an instant hit.
“We figured if we could sell enough to cover expenses it would be good. We had no idea it was going to be such a big business.” Cathy tell us. For or the past 10 years they have been doing farmers’ markets throughout the Hudson Valley including Woodstock, Rhinebeck, Kingston and even Great Barrington. They’ve created a name for themselves and a very loyal following, who follow them to the various farmers’ markets just to get their fix.
For years you could only find Aba's Falafel at farmers markets, but that is all about to change. Loyal fans have been calling for them to open a shop where they could get falafel all year round. Their pleas are soon to be answered as the Naors get ready to open their first store, or as Cathy refers to it— “falafel joint” in Rhinebeck at 54 East Market Street.
Aba’s will offer a small vegan menu with their signature falafel, salads and hummus. The “joint” will focus mainly on take-out with a few tables and seats if you prefer to eat there.
Plans are for it to be opened by the end of June beginning of July. For exact opening date and times, follow them on Facebook or call 845-625-7127.
Until then, and for that matter, all summer long, you can find them at:
Woodstock Farm Festival - Wednesdays 3:30 PM-dusk
Pleasantville Farmers Market - Saturdays 8:30 AM-1 PM
Rhinebeck Farmers Market - Sundays 10 AM-2 PM
And when you see Cathy and Roy, tell them you heard about them on HudsonValleyEats.