South Lake Union has a meaty new street food destination. Aviv Shawarma Bar — an extension of Capitol Hill’s popular Aviv Hummus Bar — opened Tuesday, December 8, at 1165 Harrison Street, bringing its take on Israeli shawarma to the neighborhood with pitas packed with carved slices of turkey and topped with savory sauces.
The restaurant had been planned pre-pandemic, but COVID-19 measures delayed the opening. Still, owner David Nussbaum never gave up on the project, since he’s as serious about his shawarma as he is about his hummus. In that respect, diners can expect a single-minded devotion to detail at the new restaurant — and generous portions. “This ain’t gonna be some small stack of meat,” he says. “This will be the massive tower of rotating glory seen on the streets in Israel.”
The key to great shawarma, Nussbaum says, is stacking the meat with care and uniformity so that it cooks evenly. Lamb fat should also be on the top of the spit, which not only adds flavor, but keeps the rest of the tower moist and succulent as the fat renders and drips down. Nussbaum’s spice blend is influenced by the flavors of Haifa, and he says there will be several classic toppings to choose from.
Aviv Shawarma Bar’s menu includes some staples from the hummus-focused sibling — such as the sabig and falafel — and, naturally, there will be a hummus shawarma option. Fans of Aviv’s rosewater pudding malabi will find the treat here as well, along with drinks such as the limonana and ice kafeh. The menu also features a few recognizable sides from the Capitol Hill joint, including seasoned fries and cucumber salads, and all items are available for takeout to start. “We expect to see plenty of tahina and amba on the sidewalk from people chowing down on their stuffed pita,” Nussbaum says.