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Duluth’s Palestinian Pop-Up Has Found a Permanent Home in the New London Café Space

Falastin Duluth’s cafe, bakery, deli, and market will open on Superior Street this spring

Justine Jones is the editor of Eater Twin Cities.

Just a year and a half after launching its first pop-up dinner, Falastin Duluth has found a permanent home. Founders Lyla Abukhodair, Ann Abukhodair, and Sam Miller will open a Palestinian cafe, bakery, deli, and market in the former New London Café space on Superior Street later this spring.

Hot foods like falafel and fresh soup will be served daily, but Falastin will have a grab-and-go deli vibe, with quick-serve tabouli, hummus, olives, and fresh cheeses. “We really want it to fit people during their workday, or grabbing a lunch, grabbing a coffee,” Lyla says.

Falastin’s bakery will churn out fresh manoushe (a doughy flatbread) topped with cheese and za’atar, plus other baked goods — pastries like basbousa and rose-pistachio baklava have been highlights of pop-ups dinners in the past. A market section will be stocked with Palestinian groceries. “Everything that we’re making in our deli and cafe, you can you can take it home and make it yourself,” Lyla says. “We really want it to feel approachable.”

Falastin has done a number of pop-ups in the New London Café — they’ve been connected with owners John and Giselle Jenkins and Jake Ferris for a while, Lyla says. “We’ve looked at so many spaces just past 18 months, and nothing really felt right until we found New London Café,” she says. “This is new to me, owning a business, and to have the community support and the support of our friends who have lent us their sacred business spaces to do these pop-ups was so encouraging.”

Giselle also owns Duluth’s Juice Pharm restaurant on First Street. “Giselle has been really monumental in being a role model for me in this, seeing a woman-owned business of color in Duluth,” Lyla says.

Falastin’s mission, in Lyla’s words, is to humanize Palestinians and Palestinian culture through food — in recent months, she and her family have been using their platform to generate support for the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, and to raise awareness about the ongoing occupation in Palestine. “It’s a little bit scary right now, with everything that’s going on, to be upfront about who we are,” Lyla says. “But to be supported in that has been so encouraging and validating in so many ways. I’m really proud of our community and their advocacy with what’s going on. It’s reflected in their kindness to us.”

Look for an early April 2024 opening.