Cabin fever from not making a transcontinental trip to Israel? Find the tastes, smells and shelves at Shallowford Road off I-285 where you will find Israeli products, Hebrew TV chatter and the authentic atmosphere of a side street Tel Aviv vibe. Listed on the Atlanta Kosher Commission website, Tip Top is not a newcomer, but has reopened with improved design and a revised menu.
Owner-operator Sapir Lior Malka, originally from Kiryat Shmonah, HaZafon, runs her “sabra show” by saying, “We changed the whole look into one open space with a seating area of 24 seats, indoor and out. You can find in our store area a lot of Israeli products, kosher products, rows of Bamba (peanut butter snacks), homemade cakes, fresh challah every Thursday, refrigerated items, burekas, puff pastry, Zion and Tnuva brands, kreplach, Shabbat candles and yummy babkas. One dessert favorite in the market is gluten-free chocolate wafers.”
There is also a separate area for diary eaters who might select an item from the market separate from the meat items on the menu.
Malka explains her passion for cuisine. “I grew up in a culture that is all about food, food and food again. We always ate amazing delicious food, especially Moroccan. I know how to cook by looking and smelling. Our love is food and mostly feeding, pampering and having people say, ‘We enjoyed your food!’”
Tuesdays are especially delicious at Tip Top. At 11:30 a.m., they announce that day’s special. Examples are couscous with vegetable soup with chicken and semolina, and Cuban beetroot soup with semolina cubes stuffed with meat, fish patties and chicken – all priced at $14.99.
“On Tuesday we serve homemade and hot food that runs out until the last dish lasts, usually into the afternoon. The special is posted on our social media.”
During the pandemic, Tip Top is holding its own with outside tables, the grocery and tons of pickup and takeout. “At first there was a serious panic and people wanted deliveries and a lot of pickup, and we prepared for it accordingly; we got through it successfully. Nowadays people enter the store with masks, and we make sure to clean surfaces and carts. We believe in Hashem, that nothing will hurt us, and indeed it is like that. We see a variety of customers, Israelis and Americans, as well as from different states like Alabama, Louisiana. We also ship deliveries within the U.S.”
Tip Top’s meat is purchased from New York. The most popular menu items are the paninis. Americans have to adjust expectations for their “sausage” label versus the traditional vision of ground meat products with spices, fillers and extenders, often processed, stuffed in a casing. Here the “sausage” sandwiches are the equivalent of crafted ripples of deli meat.
Sausage panini turkey is $10.99, sausage panini mix, $11.99 and sausage panini meat, $14.99.
The best part is the fresh crusty French baguette or Israeli bun in which
the layers of deli meat are intertwined with Tip Top’s magic pesto sauce. There are other sauce choices: garlic aioli, sweet chili ketchup, spicy schug, barbecue, honey mustard, chipotle and spicy mayo. Sides of authentic Mediterranean black olives, pickles, tangy pickled banana peppers and caramelized onions add a kick. There is a kid’s menu with French fries, hot dogs or sandwiches. Adults can have a hot dog too!
Other items we sampled were the Tunisian tuna sandwich and sabich, an Israeli pita generously stuffed with hard boiled eggs, eggplant, parsley, lemon juice and tahina.
Malka was most proud of the hearty vegetarian shakshuka (that Tuesday’s special) sometimes served in Israel as a breakfast item all day. Two eggs were nicely poached atop a spicy, well-seasoned crushed tomato sauce with green peppers accompanied by chopped Israeli cucumber tomato salad, warmed pita and tahina.
Tip Top certainly has heart and aims to please.
Tip Top is located at 2211 Savoy Drive. Store hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Restaurant hours are 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday. Tip Top is closed for Shabbat.