A journey from a love affair with processed foods to a love affair with cheese.
For those of us who live in the area this is kind of old news by now, but this quick post is meant to serve as an FYI for those of you who don’t live near Tzomet HaBankim or drive down Derech Hevron every day. As it turns out, those of us on the Baka/Talpiot/Arnona border now have our own little commercial strip, which I’m sure I’ll appreciate even more when I move to the east of Derech Hevron (ie farther from Derech Beit Lechem where there are more cafes and shops).
Early this fall, Beit HaNatziv, a new commercial/office building, opened behind the gas station at Tzomet HaBankim (next to Bank HaPoalim). The ground level will eventually be filled by restaurants and shops, though for now it’s only partially occupied.
The first store to move in was Roladin. As far as chain cafes go, I think Roladin ranks somewhere below Aroma in my opinion, but hey, neighborhood cafe, w00t. Across the plaza, we have three new eateries – HaBurganim, Hevron Hummus Bar, and the newest, Agvania.
HaBurganim has jumped on the sliders (mini-hamburger) bandwagon, a phenomenon that has become extremely popular in the past year or two. Like Burgerim, the new-ish burger joint on Emek Refaim, they ask you to choose 2 or 3 mini-burgers from among a few different options, like beef and lamb. They also have a full-size (250 gram) burger on the menu, plus roastbeef sandwich, grilled chicken, and salads. Usual burger joint fare. I wouldn’t say HaBurganim is a find, but they do a totally decent burger.
Hevron Hummus Bar is what its names implies, minus the “bar” part. They serve the usual hummus platters (chickpea, mushroom, meat, etc), kubeh soup, and the like. The food there isn’t bad per se, but it’s nothing to write home about. If you really want this kind of food, go to Azura. If you live in Arnona and it’s rainy and Friday and you’re lazy (no judgment, I’m the laziest), walk the extra few minutes to the humusiyot in Talpiot. Also, the waiter on duty when we went there was way, way too pushy, which for me is a major turnoff.
And finally, Agvania. The main thing I have to say about this place is how remarkably clean it is. I hope this characteristic will not diminish as the pizzeria becomes less brand new. As for the food – it’s a chain, so you know what you’re getting. If you love the trademark super thin-crust Agvania pizza, you’re in for a treat since now you have a local fix.
Perhaps more noteworthy than any of the Beit HaNatziv options is Coffeephone, which is located across the street on the southeast corner of Derech Hevron and Ein Gedi. Despite having a ridiculous name, this store is actually useful. The idea – wait, wait, you’ll never guess – is to drink a coffee while you wait for your phone to get fixed. The coffee apparently is decent; the baked goods (imported from elsewhere) are apparently not good. They also seem to have a full menu. The phone accessories are pricey but rumor is that the service is good. And perhaps most importantly, you can sit there with your laptop and drink coffee while you work all day long.
So, you know, it may not be Baka, but Talpiot/Arnona is up-and-coming.