Making a return to the Upper West Side is Middle Eastern restaurant Gazala’s Place, a Hell’s Kitchen spot that once had a popular location in the neighborhood. Chef-owner Gazala Halabi will bring her thin, springy pitas and other spiced fare to 447 Amsterdam Ave. between 81st and 82nd streets — the former Meatball Shop space, West Side Rag reports.
Halabi has made a name for herself with those aforementioned pitas, opening Gazala’s in 2007 to much critical acclaim. It was enough to expand to Columbus Avenue in 2010, but that location closed in 2015 for unknown reasons. While it was open, it was a popular destination in the neighborhood for the rare-in-NYC cuisine. Halabi cooks Druze fare, the cuisine of her hometown, known for its spreads like goat’s cheese labneh, baba ganoush, and hummus; salads with tomatoes, cucumbers, and and lots of herbs; and meatier fare like kebabs and spiced, skinless sausages.
As for the space, a spokeswoman for Halabi anticipates a quick turnaround in the fairly large, restaurant-ready space — Halabi pinpoints it to May — though when Meatball Shop closed there, the owners blamed structural problems that made it “too cost prohibitive to continue operation.” Stay tuned for more.