Photo by Saddam Lashuel
In the past few weeks, Webster Street on Alameda's West End has welcomed two newcomers — Halalicious and Donut Petit — bringing much-needed shawarma, falafel, and made-from-scratch doughnuts to the neighborhood.
Halalicious, at 1606 Webster St., is the first restaurant from Isam Lashuel and Yassin Homran, who had always dreamed of opening their own restaurant and found their ideal location in Alameda. The restaurant specializes in Middle Eastern-style chicken shawarma, made fresh on a spit twice a day, and Yemeni-style fava bean falafel made from scratch. After selecting a protein, diners can choose to have it served in a pita, in a rice bowl, or as a salad. Guests can also add one of the house-made sauces including tahini, garlic sauce, spicy garlic sauce, cucumber yogurt sauce, and Halalicious hot sauce. If you're lucky, there might even be basbousa for dessert — a Middle Eastern cake made with semolina flour, yogurt, and rosewater syrup. So far, Homran reports that the restaurant has been selling out of food every day.
"It took us a while to open, but we feel like we made the right decision even though we left our jobs," Homran said. "We like the community here." Halalicious is currently softly open from 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. daily, and will celebrate its grand opening on March 1.
Just off of Webster Street, an adorable French-inspired doughnut shop, Donut Petit, opened its doors at 711 Santa Clara Ave. It's the newest business from Alameda entrepreneurial couple Joann Guitarte and Bobeck Parandian, who also own Cafe Jolie, J Gallerie, and J Couture.
Plans for Donut Petit have been in the works for four years, when Guitarte noticed a lack of artisanal doughnut shops in Alameda. At Donut Petit, Guitarte wakes up at 4 every morning to craft flavors like old fashioned doughnuts with salted caramel flavored cake, topped with roasted pecans and Himalayan salt. Other specialty flavors have included pistachio cake doughnuts with pistachio icing, strawberry shortcake doughnuts, and crème brûlée doughnuts. You'll also find tried-and-true favorites like crullers and raised doughnuts with chocolate icing. Coffee and espresso drinks are also available.
Starting April 4, Guitarte plans to offer a full brunch menu, which will include Donut Madames and Donut Monsieurs made with sourdough doughnuts. The dough undergoes a two-hour fermentation process, and the tangy doughnuts get dressed with sugary glaze. "The flavor is just out of this world between the sour and the sweet," Guitarte said.
Guitarte hopes that Donut Petit, along with her other businesses in Alameda's West End, will help usher new life into the neighborhood, where she and her husband have lived for the past 17 years.
"I just want to really be the pioneer of reviving it and having it be a destination," Guitarte said.
Donut Petit's soft opening hours are 8 a.m.-2 p.m. daily. Stop by Donut Petit's grand opening on March 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., where the mayor, vice mayor, and several members of Alameda's city council will be hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony. There'll also be a performance by the Dancing Donuts, a team of eight choreographed dancers donning doughnut costumes. Following the grand opening, Donut Petit will be open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekends.