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Mor is a fan of the tahini and garbanzo beans, too. "We import our tahini from the Mediterranean region to make certain it's as authentic and flavorful as possible," he explains, "and garbanzo beans are not only our namesake, they are also a key ingredient in our menu. They are used in both our hummus and falafel, two signature dishes, but in very different ways. For the hummus, they are boiled, then ground into a fine paste to make the dish creamy. And for falafel, the boiled beans aren't ground as fine to help create the crunchy texture of the falafel ball. I think that shows the versatility of this little bean and why it is a mainstay in the Mediterranean diet."
The only place I found Garbanzo lacking was in the dessert lineup. I saw a few whole apples at the bar, which were appropriate given the lean nature of the menu. Traditional Mediterranean desserts tend to run toward the unhealthy: honey-drenched baklava, sugar syrup-soaked bird's-nest pastries and the like. I can live without the hookahs and pan-flute music. But how about a little light frozen yogurt flavored with rosewater and cardamom, or fruit and nut-stuffed dates?
Sadly, that's not in Mor's game plan. Instead, he's looking to push his current concept. "This year we will see the first Garbanzo locations open outside the borders of Colorado through both company-owned and franchise expansion," he says. "We have plans to continue growth within the state, opening new restaurants in Denver and the surrounding areas, and we're currently planning to expand into the Washington, D.C./Baltimore area with new company locations, and will make those new store announcements later this year." But despite his expansion plans, his heart remains here.
630 S. Colorado Blvd.
Denver, CO 80246
Region: Southeast Denver
"I have lived in Denver for many years, and chose to raise my family and launch my company here because of the strong sense of community and support for local businesses," Mor says. "Who we are as a brand has a lot to do with the Denver community. Their loyalty and enthusiasm behind the brand keeps us excited and always looking for new ways to surprise and serve them."
Babaganoush, babaganoush, babaganoush.
Slide show: Garbanzo on Colorado Boulevard