West Bank proxy battle seen in falafel war on Bedford Ave

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Bedford Avenue is becoming the new West Bank — and you can blame falafel.

An Israeli food truck is encroaching on territory long claimed by Williamsburg’s beloved Palestinian-owned Oasis restaurant, forcing foodies to choose their sandwiches carefully.

For eight years, Oasis has satisfied the neighborhood’s hunger pangs with fresh, fully adorned falafel sandwiches for only $3 from its humble N. Seventh Street storefront.

But highly touted Manhattan-based Taim Mobile planted its flag into Brooklyn this month by parking its shiny, jet-black truck on Bedford Avenue on weeknights.

Taim is wooing discriminating foodies with its brand of made-to-order Middle Eastern meals that make you want to scream, “L’Chaim!”

So far, Williamsburg residents are raving about falafel specials such as Kalamata olive falafel with Israeli salad, pickled cabbage and tahini sauce ($6.50) and irresistible toppings such as pickled mango chutney, cilantro garlic spicy sauce, and feta cheese, as well as freshly-made fruit smoothies.

Jesse Sullivan, who picked up a sandwich on the way to his softball game, said it’s one of the best falafels he’s ever had.

“I like the hot peppers, and the bread is fresh,” said Sullivan.

And Michael Feinstein, who ordered a banana, dates and lime smoothie — with no added sugar — called his drink “f–ing delicious.”

“I didn’t even know I liked dates,” added Feinstein.

Naturally, Oasis’ Ihab Jibril sees the proliferation of food trucks on Bedford Avenue as a looming threat.

“It’s not just falafel — hamburgers, coffee, ice cream, tacos, maybe they could just stay in the park,” said Jibril. “It’s not fair for us. We pay a lot of rent and they don’t.”

Jibril says he has perfected the falafel sandwich — perhaps the best deal in Williamsburg — by keeping an almost holy devotion to his recipe and refusing to raise his prices. Oasis worker churn out 500 sandwiches a day — five times as many as Taim’s truck.

“Falafel in the Middle East is nourishment food for the poor, street food, and we tried to make it a popular sandwich here,” said Ibril. “I think we’ve succeeded.”

Like Taim, Oasis has its devotees.

Customers remarked how the sandwich has a perfect balance of sweet, sour and tangy flavors and almost never falls apart in your hands — unlike other sandwiches in the city.

Ben Van Leeuwen, who manages his eponymous ice cream truck a block away, says that Bedford Avenue is big enough for both falafel joints.

“In America, everyone can live in harmony — but Oasis’ prices are incredible,” said Van Leeuwen. “For $3, I feel like I’m robbing them.”

Oasis [161 N. Seventh St. at Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, (718) 218-7607]. Open 11 am-4 am; Taim Mobile (Bedford Avenue at N. Fourth Street in Williamsburg). Open 6 pm-10 pm. For info,

Updated 5:24 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

William Lee from Williamsburg says:
As a regular at Oasis (twice already this week) I can attest that their falafel sandwiches are the best I have ever had, and, as the article says, the best value in the city. I am sure their loyal fan base will remain steadfast in the face of this encroachment on their territory!
May 12, 2011, 7:48 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
If I wanted to spend $6 on falafel, I'd buy 2 at Oasis and share with a friend.
May 12, 2011, 11:26 am
Lea from prospect heights says:
I find it interesting that Taim Mobile is seen as such a threat, while Endless Summer taco truck is parked on Bedford despite there being multiple other Mexican restaurants (and another taco truck) within a two minute walk of it.

Competition is inherent to business. If Oasis' falafel is really better, then it'll prove that through sales - but don't hate on a food truck for parking in a customer-heavy zone. That's what food trucks do.

What would be amazing is if the two restaurants would throw a falafel festival together on Bedford ave - but I imagine my dreams of a tahini slip n slide are not meant to be.
May 12, 2011, 2:40 pm
steve from downtown says:
I take issue with the title of this article. I usually love the double-entendres used, but this title just seems unnecessarily inflammatory. The backround of the proprietors have nothing to do with what and where they wish to sell. ..Gersh ?
May 12, 2011, 3:48 pm
brian from williamsburg says:
Oasis all the way. John from Park Slope, thank you for giving me my daily does of bigotry and irrelevant hate speech. You are an idiot.
May 12, 2011, 4 pm
kev says:
free advertising for both parties here.....but i must say that i always support to poor guy paying rent.....
May 12, 2011, 4:02 pm
chrysler5thavenue from displaced says:
Oasis tastes great, is cheap, & is super fast. Best falafel I had in New York.
May 12, 2011, 4:19 pm
chrysler5thavenue from displaced says:
That truck needs to go to Coney Island where there is a distinct dearth of falafel.
May 12, 2011, 4:21 pm
Harry from Bed Stuy says:
John, your uncalled-for racism is appalling. Thanks for making me glad I don't live in Park Slope. You think that Palestinians have "everything made up for them"? I hope you choke on an olive pit.
May 12, 2011, 4:55 pm
Bryan from East village says:
Doner Turkish Food on Bedford has better schwarma though. Oasis makes theirs a bit tough and it's always tepid.
May 12, 2011, 5:49 pm
Cee from Williamsburg says:
I feel fortunate to have the best 2 falafel places in the whole city right here. Oasis is great for the price and Taim is worth the extra money for their outstanding, creative homemade ingredients. Despite a preponderance of restaurants up in that area, most really suck...
May 13, 2011, 1:20 am
Steve from flatbush says:
The question is why is this even news? The answer is because islam is the new minority darling of liberals like those who run this paper and many who live in williamsburgh . The jews on the other hand are always the target of liberal bigotry and still scapegoated by all.Its fashionable to be antisemetic.Fashionable like hating yourself because you are American.....which many of these morons do. Like Lea mentioned nobody has a problem with endless summer taco ..... hmmmm
May 13, 2011, 5:37 am
fatimah from cobble hill says:
why doesn't the Jewish truck go to Palestine and feed people there? Free parking and a captive audience.
May 13, 2011, 6:48 am
Steve from flatbush says:
You are right Fatimah but as usual the palastinians will most likely bite the hand that feeds them like they do now and blow up the truck!!!!!!
May 13, 2011, 7:01 am
Riss from Bensonhurst says:
Meanwhile, Israel, a refugee "state", not only saved the Jews, but everytime palestine, or one of their buddy countries oppresses, and persecutes it's own people, those people come running to Israel for shelter, and Israel gladly welcomes them, and cares for them. Fatimah, you're as ignorant as they come. Tell those palestinians to stop acting like savages, and you'll get a delivery boy to go into their neighborhood.

Meanwhile, I think you're spot on, Steve. Why is this an issue? It's a falaffel!! This wonderful country was founded on friendly competition. This is how it started in Germany- gradual, small doses of brainwashing against Jews. Before you knew it, once decent people were transporting families to their deaths, and volunteering as guards outside of gas chambers. It happens so slowly, that no one ever sees it coming. Before people have to end up apologizing for genocide all over again, can we just not make issue where there isn't one? Let these two eateries be, and enjoy whichever one you like. End of story!!!!!
May 13, 2011, 7:14 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I don't see what this has to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts. All this is just two businesses that give falafel. If people in that area want something for the go, then they can go to that truck otherwise eat at that restaurant. I think both of them have their ups and downs, so it's not like one is all good and the other is all bad. On a side note, as a native of Israel, I do feel offended by those who keep on riding the myths said by the anti-Israel crowd, but I will not bother to repeat how they were debunked since I have already stated that over on the issue of the Park Slope Food Co-op not that long ago.
May 13, 2011, 6:39 pm
chrysler5thavenue from displaced says:
cheap, fast, delicious vegan falafel is important to me. i don't care who they are, if they are a threat to my obtaining that right outside the bedford L stop, they are my enemy.
May 13, 2011, 6:42 pm
gimme from around says:
I'll stay dear to Oasis, thank you very much, and so would Elvis Costello
May 13, 2011, 6:50 pm
Steve from flatbush says:
I am curious what happened to john's comment? I have seen antisemetic comments from fatima or other people using that same moniker that were much more offensive than his ? As a matter of fact I have reported them but somehow they do not get removed? Curious ....very curious.
May 14, 2011, 6:56 am
Oasis from Williamsburg says:
Hello guys I'm a worker at oasis of williamsburg.I have read this article and cannot believe the author would write lies about us like that.we have always been loyal to Williamsburg for 8 years and we hope to continue you with it.but I can prove that my father had said no such things.I beg you to not believe what this reporter said.he would never call food trucks in such a manner.I'm frustrated cause a reporter such as Aaron would have to lie in this article just to grow more customers to tiam.we would like to welcome tiam to our neighborhood on behalf of the oasis staff.than you all and have a great day.
May 14, 2011, 9:38 pm
RWordplay from South Village says:
A particularly stupid title to this story, but perhaps Mr. Short has bigger ambitions, perhaps a future writing headlines for the POST. That aside, it's an important article because the tension between the food trucks and neighborhood restaurants is real.

Mr. Jibril is saddled not only with rent but fees from water and electricity to various regulations that burden a restaurant with various costly mandates, which he and other small business owners can't pass on to their customers.
Aug. 16, 2011, 12:28 pm

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