Dylan Gardner, left, and his brother and business partner Cameron plan to open a hummus-focused restaurant next month at One Monument Way. Courtesy / Falafel Mafia

PORTLAND — After three years of bouncing their food truck Falafel Mafia between downtown and the Western Promenade, brothers and business partners Cameron and Dylan Gardner are on the verge of opening a permanent space to offer their Middle Eastern-inspired cuisine.

The Gardner brothers hope to open Nura Hummus and Falafel at a vacant space at One Monument Way by the end of November. The space most recently housed Scattoloni, a bakery that relocated to Biddeford in September.

Customers wait for their orders at the Falafel Mafia food truck on the Western Promenade Oct. 25. Although the owners of the business are opening a sit-down restaurant next month, the food cart will be retained. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

Dylan said the Falafel Mafia food truck, which can be found Tuesdays and Thursdays at the corner of Temple and Spring streets and Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on the Western Promenade April through October, will remain in operation and will continue its catering service.

“(This restaurant) will be another offering. The food truck will still be very much our street food option that can be mobile. We are not trying to stop that,” Dylan said. “We are trying to give our clients more of an option to show them other things that we are capable of and some new menu items. Doing a brick-and-mortar expands our menu and makes it a more permanent thing since the food truck is seasonal.”

Dylan said Nura will be Portland’s first hummusiya, a restaurant centered around hummus.

“It will be a fast, casual Middle Eastern cafe focused on hummus and falafel,” Dylan said. “This is the first concept like it in the city.”


Nura, a new hummus-based restaurant, will feature many of the popular items from the Falafel Mafia food truck. Courtesy / Falafel Mafia

The restaurant will serve fresh, made-to-order bread to go along with its hummus dishes, as well as breakfast and brunch offerings, hummus bowls, salads and falafel sandwiches.

“Being able to expand our menu, we are really excited by that,” Cameron said.

Dylan said he and Cameron have been looking for the right opportunity to start a brick-and-mortar location for the last year.

That opportunity presented itself when Andrea and Daniel Swanson decided to close Scattoloni, move it to Biddeford and focus on wholesale orders.

“That space being not even a block away from where we started doing well with our food truck really spoke to us,” Dylan said. “We are at center stage looking right out onto Monument Square. It was a no-brainer.”

That proximity was important, Cameron said.


“A lot of the office workers in the area have come out to support us there, so we wanted to be close by for them,” he said.

The hope, Dylan said, is that the Monument Way location will be a draw not just for existing customers, but new ones looking for a bite to eat as they travel between Monument Square and the Old Port.

Dylan said the goal is to complete the work, which includes resurfacing the floors, installing new hardwood counters and constructing an eat-at bar, in time to open for brunch on Nov. 24.

“All we have to do is change things around and design it the way we want to,” he said.

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