openings

Gazala Place Opens America’s Second Druze Restaurant

Halabi making Druze pita.

Halabi making Druze pita.Photo: Courtesy Gazala Place

Gazala Halabi, chef-owner of Gazala Place in Hell's Kitchen, likes to brag that her tiny spot is the country's only Druze restaurant. With her expansion to the Upper West Side next month, make that two: Another Gazala Place will open soon 380 Columbus Avenue, near 78th Street. The Druze, an ethno-religious group scattered through Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel, have a cuisine that's similar to standard Middle Eastern fare, with slight differences in the details — instead of pita, for example, there's a paper-thin crêpe called sagg. Look for the uptown branch to closely resemble the original location, with a few changes: The space will be larger, for one, and the menu slightly expanded. "We're going to add a lot more stuff," a manager tells us. "Especially entrées." The restaurant expects to open by August 14.

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