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Amsterdam Falafelshop closing for good in May

Owner Arianne Bennett said she is hoping to find someone else to take over the business at a new location.

WASHINGTON — A D.C. institution is closing its doors next month. 

Amsterdam Falafelshop, a beloved restaurant in the Adams Morgan neighborhood, that has been open for nearly two decades, will be closing by the end of May.

The restaurant located at 2427 18th Street, Northwest became a staple for many residents in the D.C. region with its falafel sandwiches and bowls. The renowned top-it-yourself falafel shop had a vibe, culture and flavor that commanded attention and die-hard customers. 

The restaurant was founded by husband and wife Scott and Arianne Bennett in 2005. In 2014, the shop won a RAMMY Award for "Favorite Fast Bite."

In 2022, co-owner Scott Bennett passed away from complications with COVID-19, devastating Arianne and the D.C.'s food scene at large. 

"It is with great sadness that we announce our closing as of May 27, 2023," the restaurant stated in a social media post.

Comments of love, support and shared sadness continue to pour in. 

"This is not acceptable news - this is literally one of the best places in all of DC," one commenter wrote. 

"Nooooo this is terrible news. Y’all are a DC staple. Hope you reopen in a new location," another commenter lamented.

Bennett said she's noticed the community reaction to her restaurant, which she calls "the best damn falafel shop in D.C."

"I can't even express my gratitude to the level that I would want to," Bennett said. "I will say that without every single person that walked in here and then told a friend about us, we would not have survived for 18 years."

Bennett said she's thankful for everyone who has eaten at the shop over the years, and spread the good word. 

"It has become a part of people's lives. It's a delicious and unique food, and it serves a purpose in the community. It supports people who have both well-paying jobs and not-well-paying jobs. Everybody can get a really good meal that's not super expensive."

The restaurant is closing its doors because the building's landlord wants to sell the building, where Arianne also lives. Bennett said she doesn't have the money to buy the building herself. 

"It's just out of our price range," Bennett said. "The pandemic did not treat us well, and I don't think that we have the revenues to support purchasing the building, especially not at the price that it's being offered."

Bennett said she plans to move out, but does not have a plan for the future of the shop. 

"I have been talking to folks who may be interested in purchasing the business and running it as their own because I think it's a great concept. It should be active and out there in the middle of the world," she said. 

She said she is concerned about her staff and herself, but also about the future of the restaurant. She hopes the beloved shop finds a new home with new owners.

"Just because I can't do it anymore doesn't mean that someone else shouldn't... It's better than re-homing a pet. I'm going to re-home a restaurant."

Falafel fans still have about a month to get their orders in. Visit Amsterdam Falafelshop's website to order online. 

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