Florence's Yalla Yallaa street food truck serves up fresh, quick and affordable Mediterranean eats out of a vibrant stationary trailer located in the parking lot of Midwest Auto Store.
MJ Kharboutli, owner of Yalla Yallaa, opened up the car shop a decade ago, and as his business grew, he realized an opportunity to share his passion for Mediterranean cuisine with his customers and community.
Kharboutli grew up in the Mediterranean region and is well-traveled throughout the area, which left him with fond memories and a love for the flavorful cuisine.
Yalla Yallaa means "hurry up!" in Arabic — "the perfect blend of our traditional roots and our intention to make the experience quick and easy," said Rachel Anderson, who deals with marketing and advertisement for the business, in an email interview.
The eatery features a menu that ties in tastes from Greek, Turkish, Lebanese and Syrian cuisines, offering kebabs, shawarma, hummus, falafel and cheese grillers, with protein choices including poultry, lamb, beef, seafood and veggies. They're planning to begin offering a selection of desserts, coffee and tea as well.
The eatery first opened in the spring of 2019 and closed briefly at the beginning of 2020 for "internal reorganizing." Shortly after reopening this March, stay-at-home orders we're put in place amid the coronavirus pandemic. Since the restaurant is already an on-the-go concept, they're still able to serve the community — though their plans to open up several brick-and-mortar locations in the next year are being pushed back a bit.
"It’s a tough time for a burgeoning restaurant with a foreign cuisine, but we believe fully in our concept and that the community will fall in love with our healthy, traditional cuisine in a convenient on-the-go format," said Anderson.
You can still order your meals from their pick-up window, or place an order online or over the phone at 859-372-0059.
Yalla Yallaa, 166 Weaver Road, Florence.
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