It’s Sunday at 6 p.m., and Cafe Bello, a new kosher restaurant in Chamblee, is packed. Only open since June 4, the casual dining space is attracting Orthodox Jews, Israelis, and anyone who keeps kosher or just likes Israeli food.
Nestled at 3665 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, the restaurant is just inside the Perimeter, 10 minutes from Toco Hills and an even shorter drive to Dunwoody.
Owners Israel Rosh and Owen Beno said it’s important that the restaurant is accessible to everyone. Both are from Israel with Moroccan roots, and they designed the menu to reflect the cultural tapestry of Israel.
“Mizrahi Jews like things more spicy, and Ashkenazi Jews like things with less spice,” Beno said. “On the table you might have several different countries represented.”
The menu includes schug, a Yemenite sauce made of spices, Moroccan salmon, hummus, shakshuka, sabich and pasta.
Cafe Bello is a dairy kosher restaurant because Owen said it’s beneficial from a business standpoint. With a dairy-only menu, the restaurant can offer fish and keep costs low.
“Everything is meat, meat, meat. We wanted to offer something different,” Beno said. “Kosher meat is also very expensive, and we wanted to keep it affordable for everyone, not just Jews.”
The restaurateurs plan to add sushi along with their desserts and espresso.
The two have known each other for about 10 years. They met while at the Chabad Israeli Center. Beno owned a locksmith company, and Rosh was well known because he catered food for events at the Chabad Israeli Center. Rosh always wanted a restaurant, and Beno added the business savvy.
It took eight months to find a location and six months to open. They cannot sell wine or liquor because they are less than 200 feet away from Chamblee Charter High School, but that’s not hindering their popularity. Most of the customers are people they already know. Others come because of word of mouth.
“When someone keeps kosher, they will drive to come eat because it’s a kosher restaurant,” Rosh said.
Cafe Bello is certified by the Atlanta Kosher Commission.
Every dish is made fresh to order. It’s a difference you can taste, especially in the hummus, which is made fresh daily. Rosh said he doesn’t know any other way to prepare food.
“It’s unheard of in America, and that’s how they do it in Israel,” he said. “We really want to offer the best quality of everything.”
While some restaurant owners cut corners, Cafe Bello’s owners spare no expense. The hummus is creamy because of the amount of tahini and oil used to give it a velvety flavor. The falafel has a green hue from the vegetables.
“Using more vegetables creates a better-quality falafel,” Beno said.
They hunted down the best espresso guy in Atlanta so they could offer drinks that rival other cafes. While standing at the espresso machine, Beno whispered to a server and gestured toward a table. “Ask them if they’d like a round of coffee on the house.”
That kind of treatment keeps Israeli Nave Edelshtein coming back. He’s been to Cafe Bello at least seven times since it opened and said he has nothing but good things to say about it.
“It’s like homemade food you cannot find it in any other industrial restaurant. The shakshuka is very good. I also order the Moroccan fish and burekas,” Edelshtein said. “It’s very important to Israelis, the treatment you get when you eat. Especially for the owner to come out and ask, ‘How is everything?’ That’s important.”