Best food-court vendor (2000)

Falafel King

When Schlomo Ravid opened the first Falafel King on Boulder's Pearl Street Mall in 1981, he couldn't have known that subsequent owners Avner and Amon Gilady would turn it into a food-court staple across town. Now Falafel King offers four ways to get good food fast: at the original Boulder site, in the Tabor Center and Republic Plaza on the 16th Street Mall, and in a strip mall on Colorado Boulevard. The food-court outlets are particularly welcome: In a land of Sbarros and Chik-Fil-A, Falafel King looks like a desert oasis. Not only is falafel's primary component, the garbanzo bean, healthy -- it's high in protein, low in fat and cholesterol-free -- but it's also tasty when fried in little balls and jammed inside a fresh pita along with tomatoes and cucumber. One of those basic beauties runs about $3.50, and you can side it with one of the $1.50 options: tabbouli, baba ghanouj or a small salad. Every ingredient is absolutely fresh, and the whole package comes out faster than you can say "half-hour for lunch." Among food court vendors, Falafel King reigns supreme.

Readers' choice: Falafel King


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