Award-Winning taïm Mediterranean Kitchen Now Open in the Princeton Shopping Center
PLEASING THE PALATE: “The families, students, and professionals who make Princeton a great place to live and work will love having New York City’s best Mediterranean food in their backyard. We are excited to meet everyone and become a part of this incredible community,” says Bethany Strong, COO of taïm Mediterranean Kitchen. Shown at the restaurant’s Princeton Shopping Center grand opening are, from left, taïm’s CEO Phil Petrilli, Princeton Mayor Mark Freda, and taïm’s Chief Development Officer Matt Frances.
By Jean Stratton
Made in-house from scratch every day, all fresh ingredients, no microwaves, no freezers, authentic Mediterranean recipes.
If all this sounds good, there is more!
taïm Mediterranean Kitchen, which has just opened in the Princeton Shopping Center, comes with extra-special credentials.
Founded originally in 2005 in Manhattan’s West Village, taïm (a Hebrew word, pronounced tie-eem) is now owned by the parent company Untamed Brands, and operated by CEO Phil Petrilli and COO Bethany Strong. Currently, there are seven taïm Mediterranean Kitchens in New York and one in Washington, D.C. Princeton will be its first New Jersey location.
That taïm translates to “tasty” is perfectly appropriate. The New York City restaurants’ reviews consistently offered high praise: “Best falafel” said The New York Times, and taïm was named “one of the best 50 restaurants in New York“ by Zagat.
“We are set apart by our special recipes, rooted in tradition,” explains Strong. “Customers love our food, and people in Princeton like to explore new tastes. If we get food into their mouths, we know they will come back!”
That has certainly been the case so far. Even in the short time (14 days) the restaurant has been open, it already counts regulars among its customers.
“They love the food and the relaxed, friendly atmosphere,” says Leslie Neviaser, vice president, marketing. “We are a casual, informal eatery with eat in, takeout, and catering. We can seat 32 inside at the counter, and 12 at our tables outside. We serve delicious pitas, bowls, salads, and mezze (small dishes) that are all made from scratch daily. Since the beginning, when it first opened in New York, the owners have gathered the best ingredients, spices, and time-honored techniques of Mediterranean cooking, and brought them together for the best lunch, dinner, or quick bite.”
The restaurant is attracting a wide range of customers, including families, some of whom are familiar with this Middle Eastern/Mediterranean cuisine and others who have not yet sampled it, but who are ready to explore something new, adds Neviaser.
And, indeed, they will find a full range of items to tempt the taste buds. In its mission statement taïm reports that its “concept is vegetable-forward, while also featuring lean meats, fresh herbs and spices to meet the needs of a variety of healthy balanced diets.
“taïm is differentiated by its commitment to fresh, authentic ingredients and spices, and elevated preparation standards,” continues the statement. “All locations are stocked with a variety of 18 different spices, including Baharat, one of the most widely used spice blends in Mediterranean cooking. With no microwaves or freezers, taïm makes every menu item fresh from scratch — soaking chickpeas for 24 hours for hummus, peeling fresh ginger, and grinding fresh parsley, cilantro, and mint for the signature falafel. taïm’s fryers are always gluten-free, as the cauliflower shawarma is coated with rice flour, and the falafel does not include flour or any other fillers.”
Among the choices are freshly baked artisan pitas, stuffed with hummus, Israeli salad, pickled cabbage, tahini, and choice of chicken, meatballs, and vegetables, with toppings and sauces to customize it.
Bowls have also been introduced and have become very popular, notes Neviaser, “These can have a choice of rice, hummus, couscous, or lettuce served with Israeli salad, pickled cabbage, tahini, and a main of chicken, meatballs or vegetables.”
Several salads are available, including Greek and citrus, featuring blends of greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, olives, feta cheese, and seasonings.
Popular sides are taïm’s signature fresh-cut French fries, served with a saffron aioli or harissa ketchup. falafel, pita, crispy cauliflowers, peppers and pickles are other favorite sides.
Mezze (small dishes), including a variety of pitas and vegetables, such as marinated beets and Moroccan carrots, and pitas, are also in demand.
Beverages include sodas, bottled water, milk, juices, and taïm’s own ginger mint lemonade.
“This is the first time we have had a Kids’ Menu,” reports Strong. “We have “pita” butter and jelly, and also small trays for the kids to choose what they want. We’ve already had a lot of kids come in, and we look forward to even more families coming. We are a great place for families.”
Both eat in and takeout are popular, she adds, and she is looking forward to expanding the catering business to include all kinds and sizes of events, from picnics to weddings.
Prices begin at $4.50 for the Kids’ Menu, with regular pitas at $9.75 and bowls at $11.75
The choice of Princeton and the Shopping Center to be taïm’s first suburban location is very important, points out Strong.
“Princeton is a such a dynamic community, a town with a passion for good food and culture, which is a perfect fit for taïm. It is also an international community, with people from other countries living here. In addition, we are very happy to be in the Shopping Center. The management has been so helpful, and the other merchants so welcoming. It’s a great location, and with such convenient parking. We are looking forward to all the people gathering at the Shopping Center this summer for the outdoor concerts and other events.”
Feast of Flavors
She adds that she is enjoying this new opportunity here. “I like being with all the people: our staff and the customers. I love to share what we are offering and see people enjoying themselves. Of course, we all love the food. Remember, we have a feast of flavors, just for you!
“We are very proud of our staff, and anticipate adding more employees. We offer benefits and opportunities for the staff to develop into management positions.”
Being part of the Princeton community is another important priority for taïm, points out Strong. “We very much look forward to becoming a real part of the community. Everyone has made us feel so welcome, and we want to give back.”
In fact, taïm has already given back in a very significant way. On June 14, it held a fundraiser with proceeds going to help Mr. Rogers’ Neighbors Kindness Project. The organization focuses on neighbors helping local businesses and local residents.
“We sold more than 750 bowls at half price, and we donated that amount to the Neighbors Project,” says Neviaser. “We are very glad to support such a helpful and important organization.”
taïm is open seven days, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Delivery is available through the taimkitchen.com website or the taim app.
For more information, call (609) 356-0140, or visit taimkitchen.com.