Gazala’s Restaurant is the creation of Chef/Owner Gazala Halabi, who celebrates her culinary heritage as an Israeli Druze. Hospitality is a Druze hallmark—guests are embraced and welcomed with a flavorful Druze cuisine. Says Gazala, “I want my restaurant to be a place to eat Druze food, to sample Druze culture and be treated like family. It is a little slice of my village on Columbus Avenue.”
About and History of Gazala’s Place
Gazala’s Chef and Owner, Gazala Halabi, was born and raised in Daliat el-Carmel, a small Druze village of 15,000 in northern Israel. She first came to New York City in 2001; a bold move for a young woman of her tradition-centered culture. She married and had two beautiful children, and founded a catering business with the culinary skill and knowledge handed down to her from her family and ancestors. Her clients’ reaction to Druze cuisine was overwhelmingly positive, inspiring her to open her tiny Ninth Avenue outpost, Gazala Place. It became a cult favorite—but 22 seats couldn’t satisfy the demand. August 2010 saw the opening of Gazala’s: its owner’s dream, in a stately landmark building on Columbus Avenue.
Says Gazala, “My restaurants represent everything about me – faith, hard work, and of course my culture. I wanted not only to make a place to eat Druze food, but a place for New Yorkers to experience the hospitality that is such a great part of our traditions. Gazala’s is a little slice of my village on Columbus Avenue.”
Food is an integral part of the Druze culture: as a communal family experience, a source of remedies, and a long time tradition. “Gazala’s Place” in her culture would traditionally be at home, raising a family in the village – not a namesake restaurant.