Mike Solomonov and Steve Cook on Monday launched the Israeli sandwich shop Merkaz in Philadelphia, the latest addition to the Cooknsolo restaurant group empire.
Named for the Hebrew word for “center,” Merkaz is an all-day concept featuring Israeli-style breakfast and coffee in the morning and made-to-order pita sandwiches, with hummus and salatim (cooked vegetable salads) from 11 a.m. to around 7 p.m., along with Israeli “gazoz” soft drinks.
Solomonov is known for his high-end Israeli concept Zahav, which has won multiple James Beard awards, and the group has grown its more-casual concepts, including the hummusiya Dizengoff; the Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine of Abe Fisher; and the falafel shop Goldie. Earlier this year, the group opened the bakery and café K’Far.
The group also operates the Federal Donuts chain, featuring fried chicken and doughnuts. And coming soon is an Israeli mixed grill restaurant called Laser Wolf.
Here’s a look at Merkaz.