East Village Grill

Twin Cities, Minnesota

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East Village Grill is a great anthropology lesson. The place serves Middle Eastern food, such as hummus and falafel, but is run and patronized by Somali immigrants. It seems like a bustling community gathering spot in a nice area of town. I've been there a few times and the main room is full of young and old Somali men, usually in pairs, chatting, eating and watching whatever sports game is on the tv.

There's a separate, curtained-off area for women to dine alone, which is something I've never seen anywhere else in the US, but is fairly common in Islamic countries.

I like their falafel sandwich ($5.50 with tax) which is fresh, light and delicately prepared. You can tell their cook takes pride in his workmanship. The pita is soft and wrapped perfectly around the well-seasoned, crunchy-on-the-outside, but soft-on-the-inside falafel, lettuce, tomatoes and tahini. I was not expecting that quality of falafel and I must say it's one of my favorites in the Twin Cities.

Go to East Village Grill for a snack and experience a quaint little entry into a vibrant immigrant community.

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