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Tucked inside the food court at Valley West Mall lies a new kiosk serving homemade Mediterranean food seven days a week.

Mr. Falafel, located at 155 Valley West Drive, Suite 133 in West Des Moines, serves Middle Eastern specialties such as shawarma, falafel, soups, hummus and baklava. 

Owned by Harith Alkawari, 33, and family, all dishes are made using family recipes. The food stand is in the same location as the former Panda Express.  

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Before opening Mr. Falafel, Alkawari worked in the food truck industry and at The Cheesecake Factory in Jordan Creek for three years. 

"I was looking to do my own separate business," Alkawari said. "The food truck business is seasonal, so I wanted to make a permanent space."

Menu highlights

Mr. Falafel offers a variety of Mediterranean dishes and can accommodate halal and vegetarian diets.

  • Chicken Shawarma - Grilled chicken, fries, pickles and garlic sauce ($6.50)
  • Humous or baba ganoush ($3)
  • Philly Cheesesteak - Grilled beef steak, pickles, onion, cheese and green pepper ($7)
  • Salad - Choice of falafel, steak or chicken with lettuce, tomato, onion, cabbage, carrot and special dressing ($5)

Steak, chicken and falafel plates are served with rice, homemade tzatziki or garlic-tahini sauce and salad in small ($5) and large ($7.50) sizes.

Halal dishes are available, such as the burger sandwich with pickles, lettuce, onion, tomato and cheese ($6) and halal soups, such as lentil with mushroom soup and chicken soup with vegetables ($3).

A kids' dinner features chicken nuggets, fried and juice cocktail ($3). On Saturdays, Mr. Falafel will feature homemade specials. Soft drinks are free on Thursdays.

Homemade desserts include baklava made from pistachios sourced from Colorado and Tennessee ($2); zalabia, a fried spiral-shaped dessert similar to a funnel cake ($1); Znoud el Sit, a crisp pastry filled with sweetened clotted cream ($1.50); and konafa, a lightly sweet layered dessert made with shredded phyllo, cream and sugar syrup ($3). 

Alkawari moved to Des Moines from Turkey five years ago, and his wife moved here 10 years ago. He met his wife in Des Moines, and both are refugees from Baghdad. Before Turkey, Alkawari lived in Lebanon. The family lives in West Des Moines. 

"We work hard to make a good future in Des Moines," Alkawari said. Plans are in the works for new locations in the Des Moines metro. 

Mr. Falafel

Location: 155 Valley West Drive, Suite 133

Hours: Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Contact: (515) 537-9134;; Facebook

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