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Naf Naf Grill - Niles Version

Naf Naf Grill - Niles Version
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  • Post #31 - June 19th, 2013, 10:26 am
    Post #31 - June 19th, 2013, 10:26 am Post #31 - June 19th, 2013, 10:26 am
    OK. All this talk of Naf Naf has me craving a chicken shawarma on their excellent fluffy pita bread with well done fries for lunch. I'm headed there now!
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #32 - June 19th, 2013, 10:50 am
    Post #32 - June 19th, 2013, 10:50 am Post #32 - June 19th, 2013, 10:50 am
    BR wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    groovedirk wrote:Reading some of the other postings I'm surprised not everybody loves the "fluffy" pita at Naf Naf Grill. I think it's fantastic and is the main reason I drop by. I do like their hummus and some other bits as well, but living close to Dhawarma and Semiramis --amongst others--the pita is what won me over. Whenever I goto the Costco in Niles (quite often it turns out) its hard for me not to drop by for that pita....

    I agree. There are a few other items I enjoy at Naf Naf but their pita is my favorite item, and the only item there I consider truly destination-worthy.

    =R=

    The Wonder Bread of pitas . . . in this man's opinion. But that's what makes this board interesting, right?

    LOL, indeed. There's no accounting for taste! :P

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

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  • Post #33 - June 19th, 2013, 3:33 pm
    Post #33 - June 19th, 2013, 3:33 pm Post #33 - June 19th, 2013, 3:33 pm
    stevez wrote:OK. All this talk of Naf Naf has me craving a chicken shawarma on their excellent fluffy pita bread with well done fries for lunch. I'm headed there now!


    Lunch was terrific! The green hot sauce was replaced on this day with a version that ran more toward the brown/red spectrum. It was similar in taste to the green version (how's that possible?), with perhaps a bit less cumin. Pickles were spot on, and not the jarred hamburger pickles that made an appearance at one recent visit.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #34 - June 19th, 2013, 7:36 pm
    Post #34 - June 19th, 2013, 7:36 pm Post #34 - June 19th, 2013, 7:36 pm
    stevez wrote:Lunch was terrific! The green hot sauce was replaced on this day with a version that ran more toward the brown/red spectrum. It was similar in taste to the green version (how's that possible?)


    Educated guess would be the color of the peppers. When I make salsa, the color can be bright green to muddy reddish -brown. I've had the green, and off-red brwonish color hot sauces at Naf-Naf in Naperville. I haven't been there enuff to really notice if there is a big difference, but I can say that I LOVE them both if there is. Their lentil soup with two or three of those hot sauces dumped in is good eats un my book.

    Also, the pita might be wonder-bread ish because it is Israeli?
    I have absolutely no idea, but I could have sworn I read somewhere (possibly in the main Naf thread) that the pita is fluffy because it is "authentic" Israeli-style pita. I have no idea if that's true or not, and I'm not one to throw the word authentic around because I think it's lost all meaning, but for some reason, my brain is telling me that Naf's pita is made that way not to entice the masses, but because it is really authentic style Israeli pita. I wouldn't doubt me being incorrect. I'm full of generic Nyquil right now.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #35 - June 19th, 2013, 7:53 pm
    Post #35 - June 19th, 2013, 7:53 pm Post #35 - June 19th, 2013, 7:53 pm
    stevez wrote:OK. All this talk of Naf Naf has me craving a chicken shawarma on their excellent fluffy pita bread with well done fries for lunch. I'm headed there now!


    This is key. Make sure to order the fries well done. If I don't, too often I get limp, greasy slices of potatoes.

    It seems I'm in the minority, but I actually like the falafel more at Naf Naf than Pita Inn. They are slightly less done in the middle, almost creamy. For me, ill take the pita and falafel at Naf Naf and the combo plate from Pita Inn (and i haven't even mentioned Kabul House!). A good problem to have when deciding between lunch options in Skokie/Niles.
  • Post #36 - June 20th, 2013, 7:56 am
    Post #36 - June 20th, 2013, 7:56 am Post #36 - June 20th, 2013, 7:56 am
    I have to admit that the fries shoved into a falafel on that fluffy pita is a keeper. Especially with the knowledge that I can shop afterwards at Fresh Farms.

    I almost always schedule a trip coming from court in Skokie. Didn't do it yesterday because I was heading back into the city, for an appointment that didn't happen and now I'm trying to figure out if I can make it work coming back from Lake Geneva on Saturday. And yes, I know Fresh Farms on Saturday is a crazy experience, but if it's on the route I think I must do it.
    Last edited by pairs4life on August 5th, 2013, 3:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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  • Post #37 - August 5th, 2013, 3:12 pm
    Post #37 - August 5th, 2013, 3:12 pm Post #37 - August 5th, 2013, 3:12 pm
    Haven't seen anyone discuss the Naf Naf that opened on Michigan Av., but I went there about a week ago and was seriously disappointed by the quality as a first-time eater at the franchise. Quite honestly, I don't see what the hype with them is about. Granted this is a reduced menu relative to Niles or Naperville (which has kebobs, including chicken thigh/pargit and meal plates along with sandwiches), and maybe I'm biased because I was eating full-flavored turkey/lamb shawarma in the Old City of Jerusalem three weeks ago (at a place that would cringe at the thought of donor cones and an automatic slicer), but.....

    I went to the Naf Naf at 3 PM on a Friday and got the steak shawarma with the lentil soup. The soup had some nice flavor, and the falafel ball I got as a 'taste' was crispy enough, but I found the steak to be bland and unseasoned - reminding me more of sliced roast beef than what I think of as the beef/lamb I would see at Dawali or the turkey/lamb at Mizrahi Grill. I was also surprised by how limited the sides with the shawarma were - no onions (one of the servers told me that "there were onions in the chopped salad"), no spicy peppers (or even mild ones), and the hot sauce (s'chug) reminded me more of a tomatillo salsa at, say, Baja Fresh than the kind of thing I'd see at Mizrahi or an Albany Park place. Also, no tahini? And the puffy, Israeli-style pita wasn't all that pillowy compared to the real thing you'd get from a taboun oven, or even store-bought @ the Garden Fresh in Northbrook.

    I find it a bit weird because a place like benjyehuda or I Dream of Felafel has a broader set of sides and more challenging flavor palate, and they don't have the authenticity credentials that you'd think a franchise started by Israelis would have.

    To be fair, I wasn't exactly expecting Moshiko on Jerusalem's Ben Yehuda, but Chicagoans could be a little more challenged by what they had to offer.

    Speaking of which :):
    http://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/ShowUserR ... trict.html
  • Post #38 - August 6th, 2013, 12:48 pm
    Post #38 - August 6th, 2013, 12:48 pm Post #38 - August 6th, 2013, 12:48 pm
    Sdrucker, I think Naf Naf threads need to basically be divided between the original three locations (Naperville, Aurora, Niles), and the newer locations that they are opening (downtown, Rosemont, soon to be Orland Park and Evanston). The difference between the two types is night and day.

    The original versions are worthy GNRs, they have a bit higher price point than what they are often compared to (Pita Inn), but the quality is worth it IMO.

    The satellite locations, well, how do I put this diplomatically... they suck! The limited menu is ill-conceived. Really, no baba ghannouj? no tahini? no kabobs? You can get shawerma or shawerma basically. I can understand narrowing the offerings of kabobs, or even not offering the schnitzels (though I like them very much), but they have completely gutted the menu. But to me the worse transgression, is to not offer their fresh pitas. Without those pillowy stars, the quality lacks, and they should not be charging a premium. I was looking so forward to the Orland Park store opening, but if it is similar to Rosemont, go there quick if you want to try it, because it will be gone in 6 months.
  • Post #39 - August 6th, 2013, 1:20 pm
    Post #39 - August 6th, 2013, 1:20 pm Post #39 - August 6th, 2013, 1:20 pm
    Point #1: I have never seen a Naf Naf without tahini or fresh pitas. If they run out of either, they should just close the restaurant for the day and cry into their piles of lunch worker money.

    Point #2: I can understand phasing out the kebabs/schnitzel if they are going for the QSR route with the new "express" locations. Both of those are lower margin items which require additional time to prepare and that don't keep well in chafing dishes/under heat lamps. I'm guessing they did the math on the inventory shrinkage from those items and it did not make sense. My guess is that the volume of baba they were selling was also below break-even point.

    However, I do agree that discussions between the original locations and the "express" locations should be separate.
  • Post #40 - August 6th, 2013, 1:25 pm
    Post #40 - August 6th, 2013, 1:25 pm Post #40 - August 6th, 2013, 1:25 pm
    The test of any such place is always the falafel and the falafel at Niles is near-perfect. That doesn't excuse the fact that your falafel was disappointing but you should give it another try in an established location or at the Michigan Ave. spot in a few weeks.
  • Post #41 - August 6th, 2013, 2:00 pm
    Post #41 - August 6th, 2013, 2:00 pm Post #41 - August 6th, 2013, 2:00 pm
    Yeah, the Naf Naf downtown always has fresh pitas (can't envision them not having them since is the chain's selling pt) and last time I checked they had schnitzel. I haven't been to the suburban outposts so cannot do a proper comparison.
  • Post #42 - August 6th, 2013, 3:21 pm
    Post #42 - August 6th, 2013, 3:21 pm Post #42 - August 6th, 2013, 3:21 pm
    2Utah2 wrote:Yeah, the Naf Naf downtown always has fresh pitas (can't envision them not having them since is the chain's selling pt) and last time I checked they had schnitzel. I haven't been to the suburban outposts so cannot do a proper comparison.


    You can view the menus by location. Niles has all the kebab options, which do require a little time to prepare to order and are not conducive to keeping lines moving. The Niles location is slower-paced and you get beepers that alert you when your order is ready. On the plus side, the downtown locations have slightly better price points.

    http://www.nafnafgrill.com/img/pdf/nafn ... nu2013.pdf
  • Post #43 - August 6th, 2013, 3:23 pm
    Post #43 - August 6th, 2013, 3:23 pm Post #43 - August 6th, 2013, 3:23 pm
    2Utah2, check the downtown menu, schnitzel is not listed, and from what I understand is not offered. Here is the link http://nafnafgrill.com/m/pdf/rosemont_menu.pdf

    lodasi, I did not see the pita oven at the Rosemont location. I asked at the counter to buy a few extra pita with my order, they pointed to a station behind me where they were already bagged, and when I grabbed the bag it was obvious they were not warm, and lacking the fluffiness that I normally expect from their pitas. I asked if they had any fresh coming out, and they said that all that were available were in the bags. As a point of reference, I arrived there at 12:30 pm so it shouldn't have been an off hour. And not even offering baba ghannouj, as can also be seen missing on the menu linked above should not be a "margin" issue. Would you agree?
  • Post #44 - August 6th, 2013, 3:48 pm
    Post #44 - August 6th, 2013, 3:48 pm Post #44 - August 6th, 2013, 3:48 pm
    glennpan wrote:lodasi, I did not see the pita oven at the Rosemont location. I asked at the counter to buy a few extra pita with my order, they pointed to a station behind me where they were already bagged, and when I grabbed the bag it was obvious they were not warm, and lacking the fluffiness that I normally expect from their pitas. I asked if they had any fresh coming out, and they said that all that were available were in the bags. As a point of reference, I arrived there at 12:30 pm so it shouldn't have been an off hour. And not even offering baba ghannouj, as can also be seen missing on the menu linked above should not be a "margin" issue. Would you agree?


    I have not been to the Rosemont location, but it appears they do have a pita oven based on reviews on yelp. It is probably located towards the rear of the store, as opposed to the Chicago-Washington location which features it right in front.

    However, based on those same reviews, it appears that the employees at the Rosemont location are less than accommodating when it comes to extra sauces and pitas. They might have a directive from management to not offer the fresh out of the oven pitas to customers asking for extras and they ardently follow the one sauce per order when it comes to extra sauce cups.

    And if an item is not on the menu, it isn't on the menu for a reason. I'm guessing that with the express set up, since they weren't offering appetizer/sharing portions of the baba, it made no sense for them to offer it. They obviously had a business reason to exclude it from the menu.
  • Post #45 - August 7th, 2013, 10:12 am
    Post #45 - August 7th, 2013, 10:12 am Post #45 - August 7th, 2013, 10:12 am
    glennpan wrote:Sdrucker, I think Naf Naf threads need to basically be divided between the original three locations (Naperville, Aurora, Niles), and the newer locations that they are opening (downtown, Rosemont, soon to be Orland Park and Evanston). The difference between the two types is night and day.

    The original versions are worthy GNRs, they have a bit higher price point than what they are often compared to (Pita Inn), but the quality is worth it IMO.

    The satellite locations, well, how do I put this diplomatically... they suck! The limited menu is ill-conceived. Really, no baba ghannouj? no tahini? no kabobs? You can get shawerma or shawerma basically. I can understand narrowing the offerings of kabobs, or even not offering the schnitzels (though I like them very much), but they have completely gutted the menu. But to me the worse transgression, is to not offer their fresh pitas. Without those pillowy stars, the quality lacks, and they should not be charging a premium. I was looking so forward to the Orland Park store opening, but if it is similar to Rosemont, go there quick if you want to try it, because it will be gone in 6 months.


    I would agree with you - although using the 'Naf Naf Grill' brand name as an umbrella for their franchise gives you certain expectations due to the GNR rep. Reading their FB page in detail, it's clear that other than the original three locations, newer locations will have a simple menu and more automated food prep compared to the full menu maintained at the originals.

    For example they talk about training a 'master shawarma slicer' to properly build and slice shawarma in one of their March posts, with what looks like a machine with adjustable controls. OTOH, they also mention robotic pita ovens and robotic doner cones at their new Michigan Av. location. And note that on their website, the Rosemont menu at the new locations doesn't mention fresh baked pita as such, while 'warm homemade pita' is featured on their Grill menu.

    Maybe it's perception, but IMO that presents two different expectations of what Naf Naf is. Perhaps "Mini Naf Naf" or "Naf Naf Katan" (roughly, Hebrew for "little Naf Naf") would have been a more appropriate name for what they're offering.

    Granted this isn't "really" GNR Naf Naf in the city, but still...if Lao Sze Chuan was opened that name in a Michigan Av. storefront, and Tony's three chili chicken were sitting in steam tables and were sticky-sweet instead of crisp and spicy-sweet, with that item as the primary entree on the menu, that would approximate the experience.



    Having said that, a trip to Niles is justified to be fair.
  • Post #46 - August 7th, 2013, 11:14 am
    Post #46 - August 7th, 2013, 11:14 am Post #46 - August 7th, 2013, 11:14 am
    sdrucker wrote:
    glennpan wrote:Sdrucker, I think Naf Naf threads need to basically be divided between the original three locations (Naperville, Aurora, Niles), and the newer locations that they are opening (downtown, Rosemont, soon to be Orland Park and Evanston). The difference between the two types is night and day.

    The original versions are worthy GNRs, they have a bit higher price point than what they are often compared to (Pita Inn), but the quality is worth it IMO.

    The satellite locations, well, how do I put this diplomatically... they suck! The limited menu is ill-conceived. Really, no baba ghannouj? no tahini? no kabobs? You can get shawerma or shawerma basically. I can understand narrowing the offerings of kabobs, or even not offering the schnitzels (though I like them very much), but they have completely gutted the menu. But to me the worse transgression, is to not offer their fresh pitas. Without those pillowy stars, the quality lacks, and they should not be charging a premium. I was looking so forward to the Orland Park store opening, but if it is similar to Rosemont, go there quick if you want to try it, because it will be gone in 6 months.


    I would agree with you - although using the 'Naf Naf Grill' brand name as an umbrella for their franchise gives you certain expectations due to the GNR rep. Reading their FB page in detail, it's clear that other than the original three locations, newer locations will have a simple menu and more automated food prep compared to the full menu maintained at the originals.

    For example they talk about training a 'master shawarma slicer' to properly build and slice shawarma in one of their March posts, with what looks like a machine with adjustable controls. OTOH, they also mention robotic pita ovens and robotic doner cones at their new Michigan Av. location. And note that on their website, the Rosemont menu at the new locations doesn't mention fresh baked pita as such, while 'warm homemade pita' is featured on their Grill menu.

    Maybe it's perception, but IMO that presents two different expectations of what Naf Naf is. Perhaps "Mini Naf Naf" or "Naf Naf Katan" (roughly, Hebrew for "little Naf Naf") would have been a more appropriate name for what they're offering.

    Granted this isn't "really" GNR Naf Naf in the city, but still...if Lao Sze Chuan was opened that name in a Michigan Av. storefront, and Tony's three chili chicken were sitting in steam tables and were sticky-sweet instead of crisp and spicy-sweet, with that item as the primary entree on the menu, that would approximate the experience.



    Having said that, a trip to Niles is justified to be fair.


    Naf Naf is still in it's infancy stage with respect to rolling out new locations (I'm assuming that they're all still corporate-owned) so there's a certain amount of tweaking going on. For example, they added on another shawarma machine at Washington/Franklin recently, so they're still learning to deal with demand. There's just no way they can accommodate the lines that form at that location and add the grill items (kebabs can take up to 10 minutes at Niles even though they serve far fewer customers).

    So for now it's all about baby steps. They've done a really impressive job for a business that was a stand-alone just a few years ago.
  • Post #47 - August 7th, 2013, 11:27 am
    Post #47 - August 7th, 2013, 11:27 am Post #47 - August 7th, 2013, 11:27 am
    I've never been to any location other than the Freedom Drive one in Naperville, and after reading all the posts, I'm thinking of visiting one of the newer locations just to see how bad they are. I was actually just at that Naperville one on Saturday, and I pigged out again. Hot sauce was sizzlin, falafel crisp and creamy, pita fluffy, tender, and warm as ALWAYS, lentil soup more lemony than recent visits, but that's fine with me. I totally dig the Naperville place.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #48 - August 7th, 2013, 11:31 am
    Post #48 - August 7th, 2013, 11:31 am Post #48 - August 7th, 2013, 11:31 am
    spinynorman99 wrote:
    Naf Naf is still in it's infancy stage with respect to rolling out new locations (I'm assuming that they're all still corporate-owned) so there's a certain amount of tweaking going on. For example, they added on another shawarma machine at Washington/Franklin recently, so they're still learning to deal with demand. There's just no way they can accommodate the lines that form at that location and add the grill items (kebabs can take up to 10 minutes at Niles even though they serve far fewer customers).

    So for now it's all about baby steps. They've done a really impressive job for a business that was a stand-alone just a few years ago.


    Expansion is something you have to be careful with to avoid diluting the brand - remember what Boston Market went through in the late 90's? But I hope they eventually open up a location in the city that's closer in menu and quality to what the Naf Naf in Naperville is aiming for, maybe in Lincoln Park or Lakeview (although I wouldn't object to our Streeterville neighborhood LOL).

    BTW, I've seen the 10 minute wait part at Mizrahi when we've been up that way, even when they're slow, and I agree that won't work in a Loop location oriented towards a weekday lunch crowd, or shoppers/tourists on Michigan. OTOH, Roti seems able to pull off a broader menu than Naf Naf's city franchises, as does a place like Greek Family Kitchen (the one in the Northwestern Hospital food pavilion is much better than I'd expect from typical QSR). Or even that place in the fourth floor of the 520 N. Michigan food court (but while edible, I wouldn't give it particularly strong points for authenticity). I would have said Jaffa Bakery @ 225 N. Michigan, but haven't been there in a couple of years and the reviews on Yelp (ugh) seem to show a decline in quality since they remodeled.

    I'm going to go back to the Michigan Av. location in the next couple of days at an earlier time to see if maybe I caught them at an off-day, though, and get either the chicken shawarma or the falafel to see if 3 PM on Friday's just a bad time to visit.
  • Post #49 - August 7th, 2013, 12:53 pm
    Post #49 - August 7th, 2013, 12:53 pm Post #49 - August 7th, 2013, 12:53 pm
    seebee wrote:I've never been to any location other than the Freedom Drive one in Naperville, and after reading all the posts, I'm thinking of visiting one of the newer locations just to see how bad they are. I was actually just at that Naperville one on Saturday, and I pigged out again. Hot sauce was sizzlin, falafel crisp and creamy, pita fluffy, tender, and warm as ALWAYS, lentil soup more lemony than recent visits, but that's fine with me. I totally dig the Naperville place.


    If Freedom Drive is a 9-9.5/10, the "express" location on Washington is probably an 8.5. It is still better tasting food than the majority of it's pure-play competitors (Benjyehuda, Roti, Mezza, GRK, I Dream of Falafel, etc.). They wouldn't have a line going out the door and down the block if they weren't selling a benchmark product.
  • Post #50 - August 7th, 2013, 1:07 pm
    Post #50 - August 7th, 2013, 1:07 pm Post #50 - August 7th, 2013, 1:07 pm
    sdrucker wrote:Roti seems able to pull off a broader menu than Naf Naf's city franchises, as does a place like Greek Family Kitchen (the one in the Northwestern Hospital food pavilion is much better than I'd expect from typical QSR).


    Well, there's a reason why I go to Naf Naf over Roti even though they're equidistant from my office. And there's no reason they can't coexist, just like various burger and hot dog places do. They don't need to be carbon copies of each other.
  • Post #51 - December 2nd, 2013, 10:42 am
    Post #51 - December 2nd, 2013, 10:42 am Post #51 - December 2nd, 2013, 10:42 am
    Also posted in the openings/closings thread...

    From Facebook:
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid ... 102&type=1
    Four years ago we opened the first Naf Naf in Naperville. We had a shoestring budget, an old building with no heat or AC, and used equipment. What we lacked in our facility we made up with the passion and love that we put into our food. The people of Naperville welcomed and supported us and for that we are forever grateful. We are excited to announce our 11th location and 2nd Naperville location in downtown Naperville! This location will feature our new concept with new items like our steak shawarma, salad/rice bowls, garlic sauce, and sumac onions. As we have grown to become the largest Middle Eastern chain in Chicago we are always proud that we started in a great city, with great people.
    Thank you Naperville!
    Elan, Justin, Sahar & David


    No address was given in the post, but it appears it will the express concept, not the full menu. No clue if the schnitzel will be available.
  • Post #52 - December 2nd, 2013, 8:58 pm
    Post #52 - December 2nd, 2013, 8:58 pm Post #52 - December 2nd, 2013, 8:58 pm
    Working downtown I was excited about the new Washington/Wells location - even made it for the day one free t-shirt and second meal free next day. Alas, it seems they are the Chipotle of middle eastern food....good if that's what you are looking for. I did go to the stripped down version in Orland last week, hoping for enlightenment....but it was the same old stuff. Lines out the door? Sure, so do a lot of decent (yet not exceptional) restaurants.

    I will continue to support the Taza and Benjyahuda guys because they put their heart and soul (and serious recipes) out there for us all.
  • Post #53 - December 3rd, 2013, 2:29 pm
    Post #53 - December 3rd, 2013, 2:29 pm Post #53 - December 3rd, 2013, 2:29 pm
    I went to the Naf Naf in Orland a few weekends ago. Never been to one before and haven't really had much experience with middle eastern food. I thought the food was excellent and the place pretty empty. Not sure if your comment about lines out the door has to do with the Orland location or others, but for a Saturday afternoon around 1:30 it was virtually empty. 5 other people in the place and only 2 more came in during the 30 minutes we ate.

    Chipotle of Middle Eastern food is a good analogy but I guess I don't see that as a bad thing.
  • Post #54 - December 7th, 2013, 6:41 am
    Post #54 - December 7th, 2013, 6:41 am Post #54 - December 7th, 2013, 6:41 am
    I've been going to Naf Naf for several months and for those that were not impressed by the downtown Chicago locations - don't let that deter you from trying the other locations (especially the Niles one). The Niles Location (and even the Orland Park one) has a wonderful staff and great food / menu. When I tried both downtown Chicago restaurants, I was so disappointed and won't go back to either of those locals. They just weren't friendly and I thought the food was subpar to the Niles location. It's a different vibe in the Chicago restaurants - where they just want you to come in, order and leave. Nothing warm and inviting. Niles - completely different experience. I strongly recommend you give them another try.
  • Post #55 - December 7th, 2013, 10:18 am
    Post #55 - December 7th, 2013, 10:18 am Post #55 - December 7th, 2013, 10:18 am
    Just checking in with a more recent data point than before. Have gone to Orland several times now. They have added baba ghannouj to the menu. The entrees are still pretty much limited to the robot sliced shawerma, and I have never had a fresh from the oven pita there like I have had at Naperville or even Niles.

    I am glad to pay the premium and drive to Naperville for what they offer, however, I still feel as though the "express version" places just aren't anything special.
  • Post #56 - December 7th, 2013, 10:52 am
    Post #56 - December 7th, 2013, 10:52 am Post #56 - December 7th, 2013, 10:52 am
    The Rosemont location also recently added baba ghanoush and I thought it was a very good version - well seasoned, subtle smokiness.

    I've also come a long way since my first visit to Naf Naf in terms of appreciating their falafel sandwich. I'm not as big a fan of their fluffy pitas as others, but I solve this by ordering the falafel bowl, then filling my own pitas (which come on the side). For me, it makes a huge difference and prevents the falafel and pita from becoming a mushy mess.

    One more thing: their hot sauce is terrific. Don't miss it.
  • Post #57 - December 8th, 2013, 1:46 am
    Post #57 - December 8th, 2013, 1:46 am Post #57 - December 8th, 2013, 1:46 am
    jennlynn995 wrote:I've been going to Naf Naf for several months and for those that were not impressed by the downtown Chicago locations - don't let that deter you from trying the other locations (especially the Niles one). The Niles Location (and even the Orland Park one) has a wonderful staff and great food / menu. When I tried both downtown Chicago restaurants, I was so disappointed and won't go back to either of those locals. They just weren't friendly and I thought the food was subpar to the Niles location. It's a different vibe in the Chicago restaurants - where they just want you to come in, order and leave. Nothing warm and inviting. Niles - completely different experience. I strongly recommend you give them another try.

    I will echo this. We ordered from the Niles location for our big annual family Hanukkah party last weekend and everything was very good. I also particularly like their pita bread.
  • Post #58 - January 23rd, 2018, 8:28 am
    Post #58 - January 23rd, 2018, 8:28 am Post #58 - January 23rd, 2018, 8:28 am
    Now CEO Paul Damico its unveiling a new look, franchising efforts and a plan to make falafel and shawarma the next burger and chicken nuggets. "Our goal is to elevate Middle Eastern food to be a mainstay of fast casual cuisine in America," he says. "I don't want to be lumped into Mediterranean, which is getting crowded; we're not going to become a salad concept. We're going to stay true to three things: pita, shawarma and falafel."

    To that end, the chain is changing its name to Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill.

    http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/ ... se-program
    Hors D'oeuvre: A ham sandwich cut into forty pieces.
    - Jack Benny
  • Post #59 - January 23rd, 2018, 10:23 am
    Post #59 - January 23rd, 2018, 10:23 am Post #59 - January 23rd, 2018, 10:23 am
    Didn't even get the year they started correct. The first location opened in January 2009.
  • Post #60 - January 25th, 2018, 11:28 am
    Post #60 - January 25th, 2018, 11:28 am Post #60 - January 25th, 2018, 11:28 am
    Dave148 wrote:
    "I don't want to be lumped into Mediterranean, which is getting crowded; we're not going to become a salad concept. We're going to stay true to three things: pita, shawarma and falafel."

    To that end, the chain is changing its name to Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill.


    Hard to overprice salads and keep them fresh at the same time, so they they give it up. Can't sell enough shishkebabs to make profits, so they gave it up too.
    OK, I get the name has to be understood by simpletons.
    Chipotle Mexican Grill, Naf Naf Middle Eastern Grill... but what do they grill? Do they even have a grill?

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