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Chef Michael Solomonov Opening 3 New Israeli Restaurants In Philadelphia

As if we needed more reasons to visit – and fress – the dynamic duo of Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook will open three new restaurants in Philadelphia this summer and fall.

This month, James Beard Award-winning chef Solomonov and his business partner will launch K’Far, an Israeli bakery and all-day café “inspired by the food, energy and warmth of Israeli bakeries that Solomonov experienced at his very first kitchen job: working at a bakery in his hometown just outside of Tel Aviv, K’Far Saba,” according to a statement.

The menu, developed with James Beard Rising Star Award-winner Camille Cogswell, will roam from rugelach and babka to salads and grain bowls to toasts made with traditional Yemenite Kubaneh bread and Jerusalem Bagel sandwiches, all made in-house. A nighttime menu will feature T’bit, an Iraqi-style Shabbat dish, and Turkish stuffed eggplant.

Next will come Merkaz – “center” in Hebrew – slated to open in the Midtown Village neighborhood this fall. Described by Solomonov and Cook as “a sister restaurant” to their hit eateries Dizengoff and Goldie, Merkaz will operate as an all-day spot serving pita sandwiches including schnitzel, shawarma, and mixed-grill.

And in late 2019, Laser Wolf — yes, named for Fiddler on the Roof’s butcher — will open in the white-hot Fishtown neighborhood. Described as an “Israeli-style shipudiya, or skewer house”, the restaurant will offer hummus and salatim, as well as meat, fish, and vegetable skewers cooked to order on a charcoal grill.

“We are so excited for these next three restaurants, and to be opening them all in Philadelphia, a community that has always supported us, is very special — we’re thrilled to keep growing our Israeli village,” Solomonov and Cook said in an email to the Forward.

News of the openings comes as a relief for fans of the pair after the closing of their pioneering non-profit restaurant The Rooster in June. That establishment donated all of its proceeds to a local charity. But CooknSolo Group, the duo’s holding company, ended up “funding losses out of pocket”.

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