Falafel is like fried chicken for non-meat-eaters. It's crunchy and flavorful and filling. And there are many, many different ways to serve it.
Dalia Hannah and Chris Hernandez are experimenting with as many of those ways as possible in their new food truck, Baba's Falafel, which took to the streets in October. They plan to keep it running all winter, and all in the name of falafel.
Hannah, a web designer, and Hernandez, a graphic designer, moved to Denver from Houston two years ago. Hannah's family owns a falafel restaurant in Houston, and when the pair couldn't find any falafel places they liked in Denver, they decided to do something about it: start a falafel food truck. "I want to be on the street and meet people in Denver, because we've been here for two years but we haven't really lived the Denver life," Hannah says. "We've just been working desk jobs."
Their new business revolves around family. All the recipes are based on Hannah's father's food -- hence the name, Baba's, which means "father" in Arabic. Hannah was planning on taking out a loan to start the truck, but her mother was retiring at the time and decided to invest her retirement money in their enterprise. "We got lucky with that," Hannah says.
The star of the menu is falafel, of course. "It's just ground-up chick peas with parsley and cilantro, and it's an excellent meat substitute," Hannah explains. Baba's serves it in a variety of delicious ways, including a cone and on pita nachos.
"All our stuff is really street food. It's meant to be eaten two-handed," Hernandez adds. Most items, except for the Falafeldillas, are $6 and the portions are quite large.
And all of the options are vegan. "It's very flavorful, so they don't feel like they're missing anything," Hannah says. "So it's vegan, but people who eat meat can enjoy it."
For catering events, they add meat and dairy items to accommodate other diners. "But when we're on the street, I want to do vegan food because I think it's delicious and it's healthy," Hannah says. "I want to promote healthy food." Still, they're not adverse to occasionally adding meat items to the truck menu, if customers seems to want them.
They take customer wants very seriously. "When we first served the falafel cone, we didn't have lettuce in it," Hannah remembers. "And we got feedback that people wanted lettuce in it, so we changed it up."
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Want to try Baba's? They park outside Nooch Vegan Market at lunch on Fridays, and occasionally pull up at MegaFauna on Friday nights. And they're always outside Meadowlark for lunch on Mondays. To keep track of their whereabouts, visit their website or follow them on Twitter and Facebook.