In early 2020, Eli Brafman became exclusive kosher advisor for the new Zoo Atlanta facility, Savanna Hall, through Proof of the Pudding, in tandem with his own thriving catering business. All this tumbled with the early March pandemic shutdowns. “I lost 95 percent of my business, but I never shut my doors. I am here to stay,” said Brafman.
Defining self-reinvention, Brafman has maintained several moving parts: EB’s Ghost Kitchen catering specials promoted through social media for his pretzel bun/rotating protein sandwich shop (EB’s Eatery lunch and dinner) on Tuesdays, Shabbat in a box, and a modicum of downsized special events. And just weeks ago, he initiated a trendy truck serving Mediterranean street food.
“We have one truck, soon hope to have two, and then who knows? Maybe 300. The concept is that every truck would have its own unique menu. Our current truck as a pilot is vegan and strictly kosher. Sabich, for example, which is a great dish, we are not serving because of the eggs.”
Last month, Brafman took a big stride by partnering with Ran Dori, an experienced kosher caterer who operated years ago in Atlanta as OU for U. After a month trial, they are fully on board as partners. Brafman remarked that it was not difficult to get a food truck permit because he already has an operating business that is totally equipped and runs out of his Congregation Beth Tefillah commissary. “Everything was easy and legal in getting this permit.”
Brafman takes sanitizing and minimizing health risks seriously. All employees wear masks and gloves. He continued, “Every time someone enters the kitchen, we take a temperature. For outdoor catered events, we invented a 6-foot-by-6-foot plexiglass shield with a cut-out window and two chefs attending each station.”
Looking back and building fast momentum, Brafman said in retrospect, “If we misjudged anything, it would be that we underestimated the demand we would garner right out of the box. I don’t know if it’s COVID and folks wanting to get out, or the need for fresh and delicious street food. Maybe a combination of both!”
The hottest deal on the truck is Eli’s special for $7.99, a “fully built” falafel coming with a side of fries or dessert and homemade lemo “nana” (Hebrew for mint). This authentic street food includes the choice of Israeli salad, cabbage and four sauces: hummus, tahini, amba (spicy mango) and green chili paste. Brafman’s favorite special dessert is malabi, a coconut pudding with raspberry syrup and coconut crunch topping.
EB updates his offerings at rotating locations, with a typical week looking like:
Monday: Congregation Beth Tefillah
Tuesday: Congregation Beth Jacob, Toco Hills
Wednesday: Chabad East Cobb
Thursday: Chabad North Fulton
Friday: Congregation Ariel, Dunwoody
Brafman will also roll out the truck for private events with a minimum of $1,000 in food sales.
He brings to his business his New Yorker stamina, street seichel (common sense) and a family catering background. He owes his success and ability to thrive to the following: “Paying the mortgage and bringing up three kids in a religious family keeps me motivated. However, we always need that third partner, G-d.”
Updated offerings and rotating locations can be found on EB’s websites, adamastreetfood.com and ebcateringco.com, Instagram and Facebook. One can also get on his WhatsApp list to receive updates on what’s being served and where.
Here’s a taste of offerings:
Shabbat in a Box is a combo takeout, four-course meal in two variations. Friday menu rotates dinner for two adults and two kids for $80, two sets of meals, $150, or a full a la carte menu.
Sample sandwiches on Tuesday are steak ($12), Southern fried chicken ($12), merguez sausage ($8.50), and churro bites ($8.99.) Sandwiches come with a side of leafy greens or potato wedges.