Back in February when historian Tom Hanchett discussed segregation at AgendaLive, he left the audience with a challenge to not remain prisoners of our own ZIP codes.
Because Charlotte’s neighborhoods are heavily segregated by race and socioeconomic status, the implication of rarely venturing beyond our own familiar neighborhoods is that we end up surrounded by people who are just like us. And because being surrounded by people who are just like us risks living in a bubble that is socially, culturally, politically and economically stifled, Dr. Hanchett encouraged us to do something about it. So in our own little way, we did.
That night, my food-loving friend Jen decided it’d be fun to tackle our Charlotte exploration by visiting restaurants in different ZIP codes. And thus, our informal monthly food meet-up was born.
Stop #1 on our culinary tour through Charlotte’s zip codes was La Shish Kabob in Eastway/Sheffield Park (28205). This, of course, was my selection because even when challenged to break from routine, I will still find falafel (my lifeblood) and will still routinely inhale it. I also used to live in 28205 so I am probably banned henceforth from selecting anymore restaurants.
La Shish, which recently expanded back in March, is a casual counter service joint serving up eastern Mediterranean specialties found in places like Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
Owner Izzat Freitekh, who ran a restaurant in Jerusalem for 20 years prior to opening La Shish in 2011, is well known and well loved by regulars. He takes as much pride in his food as he does in his sanitation rating, which he posts to Facebook when it’s reviewed.
At La Shish you order at the front register before taking a seat and then Freitekh delivers the food himself. I got the vegetarian combo plate ($7.99) with hummus, baba ghannouj, tabbouleh, salad and falafel (obviously).
My tablemates went with the lamb shank ($12.99) and grilled chicken kabobs ($11.99). And it all comes with fresh homemade pita bread.
I failed to explore beverages beyond Diet Coke because I did a terrible job period and missed one entire shelf in the cooler, but my friends all tried strawberry Moussy, a non-alcoholic malt drink that looked tasty in a Mike’s Hard Lemonade kind of way.
We wrapped up the meal with dense, sweet semolina-based almond dessert that I do not regret at all.
La Shish has a diehard fanbase and for its price point, authentic flavors and friendly service, the love is well deserved. It reminded me a lot of my favorite cash-only falafel counter in Greenville, SC and is a real gem in Charlotte’s food scene. I’ll definitely be back.
Next up on our ZIP code food tour? PePeRo, a Korean restaurant in 28105.
Connect with La Shish Kabob
Address: 3117 N. Sharon Amity Road