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On 13th, Another Spot for Hookahs and Hummus

Sahara CitiPhilip Ross
Sahara Citi 3Philip Ross

Aziza isn’t the only new hookah lounge in the neighborhood. Sahara Citi opened on 13th Street earlier this month. The restaurant sells about 30 flavors of tobacco and Mediterranean cuisine (see menu below). An inspirational message on the wall reads, “It is what it is…but it will become what you make it,” which might well be a reference to the casual ambiance and modest decor. Another small sign reads: “Wine me up and watch me go!” Unfortunately, despite a last-minute blessing from the community board, Saraha Citi’s beer-and-wine license is still pending, so alcohol won’t be served for at least another month. See the menu…

New Hookah Lounge Bubbles Up on First Avenue

photo(185)Daniel Maurer

The former home of Dana Falafel Shawarma Deli will be offering falafel again – and flavored tobacco, as well. In the next weeks, a hookah lounge will open in the modest storefront at 45 First Avenue, near Third Street.

Stu El-Boghdedy, the manager of the forthcoming Aziza (a girl’s name meaning “beloved” in Arabic) gave The Local a sneak peek into the 35-seat lounge decorated with Moroccan lanterns, fabrics and poufs. In addition to Egyptian water pipes, he said, he’ll be serving light appetizers such as hummus, falafel, grape leaves, and eggplant salad as well as non-alcoholic drinks such as Turkish coffee, mint tea served in ornate teapots, and salep, a sweet, hot milk drink.

Mr. El-Boghdedy said hookahs would go from $12 to $35 or $40, which raised the question: why are water pipes at the East Village’s numerous smoke dens so expensive, anyway? Read more…