The movement of street food to brick-and-mortar buildings continues with overachiever Erica Strait bringing her Foxy Falafel to St. Paul only weeks after launching her food truck. While looking for a new commercial kitchen space this summer, she happened upon the neighborhood bistro space that until recently was home to Caribe Caribbean Bistro.
Her plans are both ambitious and tailored to the unique neighborhood. In between loading the truck, sorting through equipment, and frying up one after another tasty falafel, Strait spoke with us about the upcoming plans and when we can expect to walk through those doors.
While other restaurants that have come and gone in the neighborhood have unsuccessfully tried a sit-down dinner service, Strait will be using the modest storefront as a spot with counter service with a few tables inside and out. She's already had patio service approved by the city and is working on a beer and wine license.
It will be just the type of affordable, fast-casual service that will suit this cute neighborhood on Raymond, just off of University Avenue.
Strait has a unique background in both nutritional eating and a bit of fine dining. While working her way through school, she nannied for a well-known New York sommelier. While she studied the holistic effects of a balanced diet, she was also being exposed to the world-class fine-dining scene in NYC.
In addition to her award-winning best falafels, Strait plans to serve some delicious-sounding turkey shawarma (she's already bought some rotating spits and secured a local producer of some tasty birds).
She'll also be crafting house-made sodas, including her take on ginger ale. She juices the whole ginger root and adds it in raw, never cooking or mellowing the powerful spice's flavor. Her kombuchas are already brewing for service.
Other hopes are for an eventual cold case to sell little Foxy Falafels to go, a concept she's experimented with before. The idea of being able to pick up some fresh pita, balls, pickled veggies, and hummus to take home and heat up for dinner sounds like takeout heaven. She's also contemplating adding a delivery service, which would bring welcome competition to the nearby Jimmy John's.
Already working at a break-neck pace, she will continue to appear at area farmers markets and have her truck (nicknamed Roxy) roving the streets. She hopes to open the store by late July/early August.
Join her for a preview this Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. outside the new space for what she's calling "Falafel Friday."