Happy Hummus 1

We could say that if you don’t know House of Hummus yet, you’re not alone, as the modest storefront in a North Point satellite shopping plaza is tough to spot from the road. But plenty of north metro Atlanta diners have found this flavorful gem, and it’s quickly become a must-visit (lunch is more bustling than dinnertime) for fans craving the rich flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean.

Specializing in Palestinian and Lebanese cuisine, House of Hummus is owned by Samar Hadlow. She opened the restaurant in March of 2014, relying on her experience in family restaurants — her family emigrated from Jerusalem in the 1960s, first going to Kuwait, then Canada, and then the United States. Hadlow and her husband moved to Alpharetta four years ago. She tweaked some family recipes and opted for a quick-service format rather than a more traditional, seated restaurant.

“Being a mom, I know that sometimes it’s hard when you’re looking for something quick and easy and healthy,” says Hadlow.

After looking for a location for about eight months, Hadlow decided to set up shop near North Point Mall. She’s created jobs for “about seven or eight” employees, depending on the season (but is always looking for good help, she adds). Plans of expanding and franchising are definite aspirations in the next five years or so, but for now Hadlow is focusing on constant improvement.

“I’m so glad that I chose North Point Parkway,” says Hadlow. “A lot of our clientele happen to be business clientele, especially at lunch time, and it seemed like a perfect decision.”

It was a bold move for a small business to open surrounded by big-name chains, but the differentiation has paid off for House of Hummus. Nothing against chain restaurants, of course — they have their place, and many turn out good food at good prices. But the money we spend there gets turned into profits that head back to the corporate offices in New York, Phoenix or wherever. Dining locally keeps profits local, meaning more success for our community. And a place like House of Hummus definitely counts as a success — but you’ll know that after the first bite.

And though “hummus” is in the name, one of the true stars on the menu at House of Hummus? The falafel. Too often dismissed due to bad experiences in the past with dry, over-fried balls of bleh, falafel can get a bad rap. But when done right — and House of Hummus does it right, by far — falafel are a true delight. House of Hummus mashes chickpeas with a blend of spices and herbs including parsley, cumin, garlic and cilantro.

The tabbouleh at House of Hummus, too, is particularly noteworthy. The traditional Lebanese salad is a zippy mix of parsley and bulgur wheat tossed with lemon juice, olive oil, tomatoes and onions. It’s fresh where other tabboulehs taste boring, and different with every bite rather than same-old-same-old like lesser varieties.

When Hadlow isn’t working at House of Hummus — she only takes Sundays off — she and her husband love exploring the Korean food options in nearby Duluth. 678 Korean BBQ is a favorite, as is Crust Pasta & Pizzeria in Alpharetta.

House of Hummus should be an Alpharetta essential in 2016, and beyond. Why? Because it’s a small, independent local business surviving in a sea of chain restaurants; variety on the Alpharetta dining scene is always a good thing; and most importantly, because you will be fed well by Samar and her team, happy and satisfied but somehow already ready to return and dine again.