Ponce City Market’s Marrakesh Mediterranean Market to open in early October

Family recipes pulled from North Africa and the Middle East
Falafel plate
Falafel plate

Courtesy of Dikla Birnbaum

Marrakesh Mediterranean Market—the brainchild of Udi Hershkovitz (Fuego Mundo) and Dikla Birnbaum (Pita Grille)—is slated to open the first week of October in Ponce City Market’s food hall. The recipes come from Birnbaum, whose family lived in Morocco. “The food is based on family recipes handed down for generations from North Africa and the Middle East,” Hershkovitz says. More on the restaurant from Hershkovitz below.

Where does the name Marrakesh come from?
Marrakesh is a famous city in Morocco that was at the heart of the spice route. It is also famous for being an intersection for travelers, so the name is meant to invoke a sense of something exotic, a faraway place known for its rich food and colorful bazaar.

Where did you get your inspiration for the concept?
The concept was inspired by the culture and food of North Africa and the Middle East. The food is based on the types of things [one] would eat when traveling through the old spice routes. In addition, having a Mediterranean background and growing up eating ethnic food, we decided to bring what we know and love in those old family recipes and infuse past and present.

So what’s on the menu?
Shawarma, falafel, beef and lamb kebabs, and a variety of mezze (side selections) like Moroccan carrot salad, babaganush, red beet, Israeli shuk salad, roasted cauliflower, and of course, homemade hummus.  In addition, we will offer homemade healthy specialty drinks based on spices, fruit, and vegetables from the Moroccan cuisine, known for their health benefits.

What will the space look and feel like?
Marrakesh will try and give our customers the look and feel of a bazaar shop in the Kasbah of Morocco.  The front will have items used in our recipes, such as spices, as well as items that you would find in a local Moroccan bazaar, all crafted by local artists. [There will be] teacups, handmade spice spoons, and other interesting goods. It will be an open kitchen concept so our guests will be able to see much of the work going on behind the scenes.