By Janet Wight
After a 13-year run, the Foxy Falafel restaurant in south St. Anthony Park shuttered its doors on July 21.
Owner Erica Strait explained it was “time to move on and try something different.”
In the beginning, Strait had no idea whether her restaurant would succeed. She had been in the food business for 25 years, but had never owned a restaurant.
While living in New York City, Strait learned about Middle Eastern cuisine by working with an Israeli chef. When Strait moved to the Twin Cities, she couldn’t find the same type of food, so she decided to open a falafel stand at the Kingfield Farmers Market in Minneapolis. The booth also featured a smoothie bicycle, which blended smoothies as the wheels were pedaled.
After two years she added a food truck and opened the brick-and-mortar restaurant on Raymond Avenue, followed by a second food truck.
Both of the food trucks were discontinued at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, she explained.
Falafel, a patty-shaped fritter of Arab origin, was the restaurant’s specialty. The dairy-, soy- and gluten-free menu selections provided options for customers with food allergies and sensitivities. Vegan and vegetarian dishes were also popular choices.
Foxy Falafel customers included neighborhood residents as well as those working near the restaurant, and there were quite a few regulars. Strait is “proud of the community we built and the people we served,” she said.
The restaurant employed six to eight people. Once the restaurant closed, Strait used her industry connections to assist her former employees with job placements.
Strait would like to mark the closing of the restaurant on a positive note. She is thankful to her customers for the outpouring of gratitude that she received after announcing the closure.
“Their appreciation for the team and the Foxy Falafel was really awesome,” she said.
Currently, Strait has no plans but is inviting interested former customers to stay tuned to her next move or future announcements by following her on social media (Foxy Falafel on Facebook or @foxyfalafel on Instagram).
Janet Wight, who lives in Como Park, is a regular freelance writer for the Bugle.