Jerusalem Market to open downtown restaurant


After 27 years of operating a Middle Eastern/Mediterranean market and restaurant in southwest Greensboro, the Hanhan family has signed a lease for a second location in the heart of the city.

Jerusalem Market on Elm is scheduled to open at 310 S. Elm St. sometime in September, Omar Hanhan said this afternoon, adding that that they’ve already signed a lease with property owner Dawn Chaney.

The restaurant will be “a casual sort of concept” where customers order at the front counter, and servers will deliver food to tables, Hanhan said. Serving lunch and dinner, Jerusalem Market on Elm will make use of a nice dining area in the rear as well as some seating in the front of the restaurant. It will feature a case of salad, traditional finger food and other options that will allow the business lunch crowd to get in and out quickly and view some of the cuisine on display.

If there’s any downside to the current market, Hanhan acknowledged, it’s the lack of indoor seating, and maybe the distance from the center city. The second location will remedy that.

“It’s going to be vibrant, fresh flavors of sort of the classic Jerusalem foods and Middle Eastern and Mediterranean ingredients,” Hanhan said, adding that it would be a “fresh take on casual Middle Eastern food and a little more brightness.”

Think falafel, shawarma, salad — almost like a smaller version of what Mediterranean Deli in Chapel Hill offers.

The space used to be home to Harlem Express and before that Minj Grill; it’s next door to 1618 Downtown and across the street from Cheesecakes by Alex. The building is one of a few empty storefronts on the block.

Jerusalem Market is a family business, started by Omar Hanhan’s father Saliba in 1989. Omar and his brother Esa will operate the downtown restaurant, which will not include a grocery/market component in the same way that the existing storefront does.

Especially after the closing of Zaytoon, there are limited Middle Eastern and Mediterranean options in downtown Greensboro. But if you’ve eaten at Jerusalem Market before (as I have repeatedly), you know this is good news.