Your Chicago: Jerusalem Café

OAK PARK, Ill. (CBS) — Moussa Al Sheikh and his brother, Mohammed, run one of Oak Park’s best known restaurants for Middle Eastern food, the Jerusalem Café.

Moussa says it’s the seasoning that makes the food, especially the falafel, so exceptional. Fresh chickpeas are ground, seasoned and fried.

More than the food, the restaurant is a tradition. The Al Sheikhs are proud of their Palestinian roots and their family’s hard work ethic, which started first with their dad’s restaurant 40 years ago in Jerusalem. And now here.

“It’s a family business. It’s actually what’s paying our mortgage,” Moussa tells CBS 2’s Kate Sullivan.

More than that, it’s a spot where other families can get a feast at a bargain. From chicken to lamb to beef, the most expensive item on the menu is $7.99.

“In here, you find the Jewish and the Palestinians sitting and eating at the same table or the table next to each other,” Moussa says. “Peace at the Jerusalem Cafe.

That true sense of community makes the Jerusalem Cafe a place to check out.

“We have been to the Middle East several times, and we actually look forward to coming back here and eating that same food here,” customer Jason Kilborn says. “Moussa combines authentic recipes with incredibly fresh ingredients.”

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