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Apr 12, 2010 10:12 PM

Signature Cafe falafel from way back when

Anyone know what became of the Egyptian family that used to run the Signature Cafe? After a few years away (OK almost ten) I returned to MN to find that the Signature had changed quite a bit. While the menu looks great and I wish the (not so) new owners the best, the old SC's falafel was so good that every other falafel I've had has been a major disappointment in comparison, I try to like it, but it all just sucks and I feel like the ghost of falafel past.
Are the old owners still around MN in a different restaurant? Does any place place in MN have falafel that even comes close to the old Signature Cafe? Does anyone know what I'm talking about, or was it all just a crazy dream?

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    1. Nathalie and Tony have owned the place for a LONG time now, and there is truly nothing left from the old place. (The wood from the old booths is what the bar at the entryway is made of.)

      In that area, Mim's on Cleveland across the street from the U of M St. Paul Campus has really good falafel. I'm not impressed with the rest of their food, but the falafel is really good.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Danny

        wow, never heard Mim's mentioned before that I recall, do they have any interesting pickles or sauces like I've heard the falafel carts have in the Middle East (besides the standard tahini, tzatziki, lettuce, tomato)?

      2. Oh, yes - I remember the original Signature Cafe with much longing. Oh, how I loved their food! They had the best lemon sorbet on the planet, not to mention everything else on the menu. Alas, I think the owner moved away - he talked about returning to Egypt.

        Have you tried the falafel at Beirut (aka Port of Beirut, aka The Port) on Robert Street in West St. Paul? I haven't been there for a few years, but I remember that they had great falafel. And chicken with garlic sauce. And baba ganouj with an amazing smoky flavor. And raw kibbe. And ....


        5 Replies
          1. re: AnneInMpls

            The falafel (and chicken with garlic sauce) is still great and the baba ganouj still smokey at Beirut!

            What about that place on Como somewhere, a small grocery that I keep hearing makes excellent gyros? Although I've not made it over there yet to try for myself. Anyone know who/what I'm thinking of, and whether they offer falafel too? I think the name starts with an "A"

                1. re: clepro

                  There are people who swear by Abu Nader. I've been there a half dozen times, and can honestly say I never had anything good there. From my conversations with others, it comes down to when you are there. If you are there during a busy time, everything is fresh. If you are there in a slow time (which I have been) you get the stuff that they cooked when they were busy - thrown into the microwave.

                  Mim's is a few blocks north, and way better. (Still not as good as my favorite in that genre - Athens Cafe in Robbinsdale, but pretty good. The Falafel is the best thing Mim's serves.)