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Newly opened Tahaza Hummus Kitchen brings a fast-casual Mediterranean concept to the eclectic and up-and-coming neighborhood of East Cambridge. Inspired by fresh, local ingredients and bold Mediterranean flavors, Tahaza puts a contemporary twist on old world cuisine in the form of customizable bowls, salads, and wraps, served in a modern space. Located at One Canal Park near the Lechmere MBTA station, Tahaza is led by local entrepreneur Emily DeBonis who discovered her passion for healthy, flavor-packed eating while living abroad in London.
Fresh and local ingredients are used to craft the flavorful Mediterranean fare on Tahaza’s menu, which features design-your-own salads, wraps, and hummus and grain bowls. Upon entering Tahaza, guests can see fresh vegetables being prepared and chopped behind a stone, tile-lined counter with in-season produce coming on and off the menu depending on availability. A chalkboard menu suspended on tracks showcases the restaurant’s seasonal options, which are visible from the line as people walk into the space. Guests can select a salad, grain bowl, hummus bowl, or wrap and from there build their own creation by choosing their hummus, contents (protein), and toppings. Sauces like Sriracha Tahini, Spicy Harissa, Fresh Mint-Yogurt, or Lemon-Mint Vinaigrette highlight flavors and add depth.
Tahaza offers three variations of their signature light, creamy hummus, which is made in house every day (flavors include original, roasted red pepper, and summer pea). Tahaza’s hummus blends serve as hearty toppings and as the base ingredient for their signature hummus bowls, which start with a generous ribbon of hummus around the circumference of the bowl, followed by helpings of flavorful proteins and fresh toppings. Protein options include all-natural shredded chicken, slow-cooked beef or lamb with chickpeas. Tahaza also offers a selection of vegan and vegetarian- friendly proteins such as baked falafel and a medley of seasonal mushrooms. Fluffy, warm whole-wheat pita bread is offered as a side to each order, but guests can also choose baked pita chips, gluten-free falafel chips or carrot sticks. A kid’s menu is also available, with family-friendly options like mini hummus bowls, nut butter and honey sandwiches, milk, juice boxes, and more. Refreshing drinks such as house-made sodas in seasonal varieties like Watermelon Black Pepper and Cucumber Basil, Mem iced-tea, Jubali juice, Spindrift, Maine Root fountain sodas, and Boxed Water bookend a wholesome meal. For dessert, Tahaza is proud to feature two-bite cookies from Kitchen Millie in Somerville, Massachusetts.
Tahaza’s modern East Cambridge space is bright and inviting, featuring clean lines and pops of the restaurant’s signature color, a shade of teal inspired by the Mediterranean Sea. Design features include natural wood chairs dipped in teal paint, bamboo tabletops, and quartz countertops in dark gray that are illuminated by teardrop lighting. Chalkboard painted walls allow for daily display of specials, local purveyor spotlights and inspired messaging to guests. All plateware, bowls, and utensils are compostable, and free wifi is available throughout the space. In total, the space has 30 seats, with an additional 30-seat patio slated to open in the spring of 2016.
Tahaza Hummus Kitchen is founder Emily DeBonis’ first foray into the hospitality industry. When she began this journey, she knew she wanted to collaborate with a team of experts who are the best in their respective fields. Ed Doyle is the president of RealFood Consulting and has more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Mark Gallagher and Laura Savard operate Blackcoffee, a brand expression consultancy that has worked to develop the Tahaza brand strategy and identity. McMahon Architects (Townsman, Pastoral) worked diligently to ensure that the space delivers a memorable guest experience.
After working for several years as a teacher, Emily had the opportunity to spend a year in London. Living in the UK and traveling around Europe exposed her to a number of new and exciting experiences, especially the discovery of bold Mediterranean food. Emily gravitated toward this cuisine because of its rare combination of vivid flavors and natural health benefits.
After returning to Boston in 2011, Emily and her husband started their family and she is now a mother of two beautiful girls. As a stay-at-home mom, Emily continued to seek out new and interesting foods, and often found herself looking for quick and nutritious meal choices to enjoy around their table. Inspired by her love of Mediterranean food and by her long-held belief that healthy food doesn’t have to be boring, Tahaza Hummus Kitchen was born. The new fast casual concept showcases her enthusiasm for distinct flavors in a relaxed, modern space.