Mirage Kitchen, a Middle Eastern shawarma shop that serves spit-roasted meats, falafel in three varieties, and other Levantine delicacies in a fast casual setting, expands to Midtown with the opening of its second location at 455 Park Avenue South. Terence Park, the President of VI Group, an emerging food and beverage company that operates Mirage Kitchen, Bread & Butter, and other upcoming food market concepts, also announced that two more locations will open this summer near Columbus Circle and Greenwich Village-NYU. This is part of the brand’s plans to open 40 units globally in five years.

“Mirage Kitchen is taking the idea of authentic Halal-style “street meat” and translating it to a bricks and mortar format,” says Adam Paige Hess, director of operations for VI Group. “Our menu draws inspiration from all corners of the Arab and Levantine world—from the spices we use to the bread and the meat we select. The variety of influences creates a beautiful ‘mirage’ of magically crafted flavors.”

The crown jewel of Mirage Kitchen’s menu is its house-made shawarma. It is marinated for 24 hours, layered on a rotating spit, and rubbed with a delicate blend of spices. All of Mirage’s shawarma is prepared in house, where it is roasted on the spit until tender. The Mirage Chicken shawarma is spiced with sumac, turmeric, and za’tar, whereas The Works, a blend of lamb and beef, is seasoned with minced shallots and the restaurant’s signature seven-spice blend (cumin, coriander, sumac, cinnamon, allspice, and two secret ingredients).

The spit-roasted meats are served on lavash bread as a Wrap; in a Bowl with rice, pickles and peppers; or as a Salad with a trio of traditional spreads – all catering to a variety of lifestyles and dietary preferences for consumers on the go. Mirage Kitchen’s menu uses the highest quality ingredients and encourages balanced eating through a combination of proteins, vegetables, and carbohydrates. For those who want to forgo the carbs, the Salad is a robust alternative, comprised of either shaved shawarma or falafel and three of the restaurant’s signature Levantine spreads: Hummus, Labnah, and Mahamra.

For vegetarians, or those who prefer a meatless meal, Mirage Kitchen serves up three types of fresh chickpea falafel—Classic, Garden, and Fiery. The Classic falafel is a blend of long-soaked chickpeas, parsley, sesame seeds, cilantro, and lemon zest. The Garden, a healthier take on the Classic, has shaved celery and carrots, while the Fiery is spiked with spicy Fresno chile. The Chickpea Fries, a signature favorite made from stone-ground chickpea flour and fried until creamy in the center and crispy on the outside, work as a snack or side dish, as do the bite-sized Popcorn Falafel served with lemon-tahini sauce.

Levantine spreads like Labnah, a strained yogurt, Babaganoush, made of smoked eggplant and tahini, and Mahamra, a red pepper and walnut spread, enhance the traditionalism of the menu. Two signature condiments: Magic White, a creamy garlic-aioli, and Magic Hot, a spicy red pepper hot sauce, are options for customers who want to add another layer of flavor to their meal.

Specific to the Park Avenue location, there are four rotating spits on display, as well as soups and smoothies that incorporate Middle Eastern flavors. The interior design fuses earthy tones and wooden textures with subtle hints of modernity. Incandescent neon signs with sayings adorn the walls and highlight Mirage Kitchen’s “magically crafted” message. Repurposed wood planks reclaimed from an old New York City bar add natural, raw undertones, and vintage wooden

tables line the sides of the shop. The space comfortably seats 20, with additional standing room for customers waiting for their to-go orders.

Mirage Kitchen currently has two locations: 100 Seventh Avenue So. and at 455 Park Avenue South. They serve lunch and dinner seven days a week at the West Village location.

Fast Casual, Growth, News, Mirage Kitchen