It's not as odd as it may seem to grab a quick bite to eat in a gas station. Customers often grab a small snack at the convenience store while they wait for their vehicle to fill up outside.
How about grabbing a full meal? Not even QuikTrip Kitchens offers that. Kholood's Restaurant & Deli in the Shell gas station at 61st and Yale is about as good as it gets when it comes to a great meal on the go.
Zach Atout, owner/operator and native of Palestine, has been in the United States for more than 18 years and has plenty of restaurant experience. Since 1995, he has been cooking, serving and managing restaurants from New York City to Kansas City, hoping some day to have his own place. While this location is not his ultimate dream, he looks at Kholood's as the beginning of better things. He would like his own place with an expanded menu eventually.
The word Kholood means "immortality," an important word in Atout's vocabulary.
Until he takes on his own space, Atout is busy enjoying his success in his current 400 square feet of restaurant in the Shell station. Atout created his own menu here, and it's amazing what he can prepare in this small space.
New York Subs & Deli is one section of the menu, serving Boar's Head meat on the sandwiches; the other menu consists of Middle Eastern favorites in the form of appetizers, salads & soup, entrees, hot sandwiches and sweets.
"The Combo Appetizer is a favorite for people wanting a sample of some items," said Atout.
When I caught up with him one afternoon, he prepared a plate for me as we chatted. It was filled with hummus, tabouli, baba ghanouj, falafel, grape leaves, Feta cheese and tahini sauce. Everything I tasted was fresh and full of the authentic flavors so characteristic of these foods.
The falafel, an iconic Palestinian food made from fava and garbanzo beans, came as two fried patties. It can be eaten by itself or wrapped in pita bread for a sandwich. Tahini (sesame seed paste, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, cayenne sauce) is used for dipping, which I preferred. This little patty was very crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
The tabouli was heavy with parsley and cucumber, which Atout said is the traditional method of preparation. The parsley was fresh and firm.
The baba ghanouj and hummus (chickpeas blended with tahini, lemon juice, garlic, pine nuts and olive oil) were rich and creamy, savory and satisfying. The baba is eggplant smashed and blended with various ingredients.
Entrees included traditional favorites: gyro plate, the meat made of beef and lamb ($7.99), marinated chicken kabob ($8.99), marinated beef kabob ($9.49) and kofta kabob ($8.79), which is ground beef mixed with Mediterranean spices, parsley and onion. All entrees are served with saffron rice and the choice of lentil soup or Greek salad. Atout said that all of his food is very healthy, commenting especially on the cucumber sauce served on the gyro sandwich.
Atout raved about the lentil soup ($1.99, $2.99), which is another healthy and traditional meal from his homeland. It is prepared with plenty of carrots, onions and curry powder.
The fare goes beyond Middle Eastern here. For the American palate, the Hot Sandwich menu includes items like cheeseburgers, chicken fried chicken, philly cheese steak, BBQ roast beef and BBQ chicken.
The subs are custom made. Fresh cut Boar's Head meats include pastrami, roast beef, roast chicken, buffalo chicken, honey ham, baked ham, Black Forest ham, honey turkey, pepper turkey and Cajun turkey. Italian meats include prosciutto, mortadella, Genoa salami, hard salami and pepperoni. Sub sizes are six and 12 inches. Add some cheese (American, provolone, swiss, pepper jack, Vermont cheddar) to the sandwich for an always enjoyable, easy meal.
Atout has a loyal following of customers who return again and again. He said that he attributes his regulars to the fact that "all food is made from scratch, and they are all family recipes." He's coined his philosophy for success: serving the best quality of food, providing the best service he can and maintaining a "meticulously clean" kitchen and dining area.
In a hurry? Use the drive-through window. Catering is also available, but only for pick-up. Atout suggested checking out his website for call-in and catering orders, www.kholoods.com.
Kholood's Restaurant & Deli
61st & Yale, Shell Station
Share this article: