The Upper West Side will soon be able to get a taste of the spinach boreks and excellent Druze cuisine that has so endeared Fork in the Road to Gazala Place: the tiny Hell’s Kitchen restaurant is opening a second location on the Upper West Side.
The restaurant’s eponymous owner, Gazala Halabi, tells us that the new location, at 380 Columbus Avenue (near 78th Street), will open “maybe in a month or so.” The menu will be the same as that at Halabi’s original restaurant, which has stood on Ninth Avenue since 2007 and was ranked last year as one of the city’s best Middle Eastern restaurants by Sarah DiGregorio and Robert Sietsema.
The new location will be a “little bit bigger” than the original, says Halabi, who is a native of Israel and a member of the Druze, an Islamic Gnostic sect whose followers are found throughout Israel, Syria, and Lebanon. “This is the time to try a bigger place,” she says. “Especially when I get crowded, I want to make it more easy for me in the kitchen.” Opening on the Upper West Side, she says, “was my dream — I love Columbus Avenue, I love the area.”
When her second restaurant opens, Halabi will split her time between the two, making use of her new, larger kitchen. “I can cook almost everything in the new restaurant, and a few things in the small restaurant,” she says. And the new commute means she’ll be getting out a bit more: “I live two and a half blocks from the [Ninth Avenue] restaurant — right now, three-quarters of my job I do from home.”