At Hummus Bay, the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavors are authentic, and the hummus and falafel are made fresh every day.
The recently opened restaurant at 7303 52nd Place E., in the Creekwood Crossing shopping center, serves bowls, salads, wraps and grilled items.
Hummus Bay is the dream come true of owner Sam Dartawil, who, after 18 months of planning, opened the restaurant with his brother, Yousef.
Sam lives within a few miles of his restaurant and knew he wanted to do business in Creekwood Crossing after frequently eating at the Rice Bowl and the Chick-fil-A.
“We live in Bradenton and have watched Bradenton growing. We thought it would be great if we could introduce real Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food to the area,” he said.
“Everything is made from scratch daily from old family recipes,” he said.
No. 1 sellers have been the chicken shawarma wrap, the beef shawarma bowl, and the pita chips.
Asked what makes hummus special, Dartawil said it is the flavor, and the texture, making it ideal for dipping with everything from chips to bread and veggies.
Hummus Bay is such a fully realized restaurant, from its full-color menu to the green T-shirts with slogans like “Hummus is my love language,” authentic cuisine, and brightly designed, 75-seat dining room that diners sometimes think it is part of a chain operation.
“We say no, we’re a locally owned restaurant,” Dartawil said.
Mindy Hill, and her daughter, Corrine, were among the guests ordering recently. On her tray were falafel (a fried patty of fresh ground chickpeas, onions, parsley, cilantro, garlic, salt, herbs and spices) and a tabouleh salad (chopped mint, parsley, green onion and diced tomatoes mixed with cracked wheat, lemon juice, salt and spices).
“I have wanted to come here ever since I heard that it opened. The food is fresh, healthy and doesn’t have a lot of fat,” Hill said.
At Hummus Bay, guests walk up to a counter to place their order in front of an open kitchen.
The menu has two broad categories: bowls and salads, and wraps and sides.
The signature bowls include chicken shawarma, beef shawarma, falafel, fried cauliflower, beef kabob and chicken kabob.
One of the most popular bowls, the chicken shawarma, includes basmati yellow rice, pickles, tomato and cucumber, salted medley, purple cabbage, dollop of fresh hummus, shavings of vertically grilled chicken breast and thigh for $13.95.
For any of the bowls, guests can also call the shots on what they want for their base, toppings, sauces and protein.
Although Middle Eastern food is becoming more available in the United States, a few descriptions might be helpful. Hummus is a paste or spread made from ground chickpeas and a few other ingredients. Shawarma is thinly sliced, stacked meat roasted on a slowly-turning vertical rotisserie or spit.
Moving on to the rest of the menu, the HB signature salad has romaine lettuce, onion, cucumbers, tomatoes, sumac, fried pita chips, mint, lemon juice and olive oil for $10.95. Also offered are a Greek salad and a spring mix salad.
Wraps offered include chicken shawarma, beef shawarma, falafel, chicken kabob and beef kabob.
A variety of sides, ranging from soups to potato fries and pita chips are also available.
Hummus Bay is open 11 a.m.- 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon-8 p.m. Sunday. The restaurant offers dining-in, take-out and catering.