As a vegan, finding healthy food options outside of ones own kitchen isn’t always easy in Plainfield. It’s nice to treat oneself occasionally. When I lived in France, the land of pork, beef, and cheese, Middle Eastern food was my saving grace. Before learning about this place, I’d recently wondered why there was no such option here in town. There is. It’s a restaurant called Baba Ghanoush BBQ and it has great options for everyone – meat eaters and vegans alike.
Baba Ghanoush, owned by Mohammad Moussa, a native of Egypt, has been open in its current location for about a year. It’s other location of the same name is much larger and is run by Moussa’s brother and father in Alexandria, Egypt, a city of 4.5 million people. “It’s very different there,” remarks Moussa, a Plainfield resident who has lived in the US for 25 years. “There, everyone wants everything very very fast.”
Size is about the only major difference between the two restaurants. In Egypt, diners don’t tolerate ingredients that aren’t fresh. The same principals guide the Plainfield location. “Nothing is frozen. Everything is fresh,” says Moussa. “We go to the slaughterhouse ourselves.” Any food that it not used is given to people who are in need.
While I didn’t try any of the meat in my two recent visits, the falafel and tabouleh certainly had a decisively fresh taste. Baba Ghanoush BBQ was the first place I’ve seen that offers a hot falafel, a welcome innovation for those who love spicy as much as I do. Be warned, hot does mean hot.
Take a look at their entire menu, which includes sandwiches, burgers, salads, soups, deserts, fruit juice, along with a host of other choices. While their main dishes are kebabs – sandwiches of beef, chicken, or lamb – their most unique has to be the sugar cane juice.
I am not sure where you can get juiced sugar cane in our area, let alone in Plainfield, besides here at Baba Ghanoush. To go along with the belief in freshness, the sugar cane is made right in front of you. “In Egypt, there is sugar cane juice on every street corner,” says Moussa. This juice cannot be saved or refrigerated effectively as it is best when consumed right away and boasts an impressive number of health benefits. It tastes great, too.
Mohammad Moussa is proud to do business here in Plainfield. “People say to me, ‘Why do you do business in Plainfield?’ Why not?” asks Moussa in return. “Plainfield is a great area. What’s the problem?”
On Saturday, I visited the restaurant for a third time with Bishop Nappyhead and MC Enigma Lyle of the Plainfield Hip Hop Duo Negros Americanos. I recorded a short video, which Bishop produced, where we show some of the conversation. We show the juicing process as well. You can watch below this article. You can also read about Baba Ghanoush from Bishop’s unique perspective on Bishop’s Travels – his article should appear later this evening.
So go down to 1324 South Ave and give Baba Ghanoush a try! It’s just to the east of Italian Village, and is open from 10am until 10pm seven days per week. On Thursdays and Fridays, there is an all you can eat buffet from 11:30am until 3:30pm.