Posted by: Jeffsayyes | October 13, 2011

Philadelphia Highlight Christos Falafel Cart

 

From what I hear, no one really knows where the line is between eccentric and mental stability, but as far as his meals go – genius! Gus is adamant about this being American food, not Greek food, not Mediterranean. He must have told me this at least 6 times. Whatever – Gus at Christos Falafal is freaking awesome.  He’s actually from Astoria and for 25 years he’s been at Philly’s northeast corner of Market and 20th St.

There’s not many options, just grilled chicken or falafel, in a platter or on a gyro – that’s it. He asked me what I wanted; I told him to surprise me, he loved that.

I loved the falafel. It had this sorta grainy texture with chunks of nearly raw garlic giving it a staggered heat. Mixed in on the plate was smokey grilled chicken and marinated grapes over a bed of watercress and sweet avocado salad. Fantastic! I’m telling you: this is transcendent chow. I’m told these accompanying salads are always changing based on his mood, but that’s fine; I would trust anything from the man’s brain.

It’s an experience. Gus, or Christo, is famous, so the wait will be at least a half an hour long. And he’s known as cantankerous too, so the line is always on edge. I got to talking with the lone operator after I received my food… we talked for literally 3 minutes. 3 minutes with a line of about 10 people behind me. Didn’t these people have jobs to get to?? With a thievish grin I looked back at the line, anticipating menacing stares, but no, nothing. Everyone was docile like a dolphin. They were just hanging out in line, kicking dirt.  It was so strange. His “Falafel Nazi” reputation had them trained.

The cart was ornate with fruits, garlic, and knickknacks. And from the picture history, you can see it’s frequently changing. I wonder if the decorations change for holiday. It must be a process to move this thing.

Hey, whatever it takesthe guy is legend.


Responses

  1. haha “docile like a dolphin”. your writing is stellar. not to mention this great food find. shame on me for never going here when i lived on 21st/walnut (3 blocks away) for 2 years! the watercrest and pickled grape combo is super gourmet for a food truck.

  2. Best dude, best food.

  3. Fuke, that looks AWESOME!!!

  4. Bat shit crazy but his food is simply amazing – actually his dishes are inspiring.

    Waiting in line was an interesting experience.

  5. Wonderful work! This is the kind of information that
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  6. I haven’t had a chance to stop by his cart in a while. He is an interesting person. Calling him the “Falafel Nazi” may be harsh. His food is absolutely incredible. I always get the sandwich. Hummus spread over a large pita. Marinated, charcoal-grilled chicken. Deep fried falafel balls and a daily rotating mixture of fresh veggies and fruits and a little dressing. It is heavy on the garlic but you barely notice it because of the competing textures and flavors. The prices went up over the years, but still a good value. If you eat one, you won’t be hungry again for hours. I promise that if you brave the long wait in line and try one, you’ll be back again and again. I suggest getting there early or late to avoid the long lunch hour line. The man is a true artisan. Even other food cart operators eat there. Don’t change Christos. We appreciate your efforts. NEXT!


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