If February is a month for nurturing the love in our lives, why shouldn’t that encompass pleasures of the culinary persuasion, too? A mainstay of Thayer Street for 26 years, East Side Pockets is one such foodie love not to be taken for granted. Known for their falafel, chicken tenders, baklava, and a range of wholesome wraps, owner Paul Boutros explains that it all started with a vision of sharing Syrian food and culture with Providence.
Reflecting on the fast-casual restaurant’s tenure, Boutros says, “When we first opened East Side Pockets, my father, mother, sisters, brothers-in-law, and I would work long hours, preparing the food and serving the customers. We would work side by side from open to close; the business became our second home and we all helped to take care of it.”
That passion shows in fresh ingredients and house-made toppings that keep customers coming back, and perhaps most of all, in their falafel – spiced chickpea balls fried in vegetable oil. In wrap form, “The most common way we see it ordered is ‘with the works,’” says Boutros, which includes hot sauce, hummus, lettuce, tomato, onion, banana peppers, pickles, tabouleh, tahini, and tzatziki. Their falafel is also available as a salad or over jedra (spiced rice and lentils) on a plate. “If you have never tried one, just let us know and we’ll give you one on the house!”
February is also a great time to stop in for a warm chicken or lentil soup, served with a side of Syrian bread – and service that’s equally uplifting. “To this day, we have customers who came in 1997 when we first opened and who never stopped coming in,” Boutros says. “Seeing our customers enjoy our food, learn about our culture, and leave with a smile is what keeps us going every day.” 278 Thayer Street, EastSidePocket.com
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