Aladdins Eatery in Shirlington is one of a growing number of area organic and whole food restaurants and purveyors.
The three-year-old restaurant is part of a chain with many locations in the Midwest and serves a balanced menu of earth-and health-friendly selections with a strong Lebanese influence.
The restaurant itself with its calming lighting, earth toned dcor and ethereal music playing in the background is more like a yoga studio than a restaurant. With free wireless Internet access, and a tempting menu of all natural smoothies and raw juice combos as well as the wide selection of foods for both vegetarian and non-vegetarians, it is no secret why diners are inclined to linger.
Our most popular items are the hummus and the tabouli salad, said manager Jumana Kassar. We see a lunch crowd of local business people in the afternoon, since the prices are good, and the food is good. In the evenings we serve lots of families.
Aladdins Eatery is part of a nationwide trend towards fresher, healthier and more meaningful food.
Locally, each weekend sees a traffic jam rivaling that of 1-95 South on a Friday afternoon in the parking lots of both Trader Joes and Whole Foods Market in Alexandria.
These stores are catering to the increasing demand for food that is fresh, local and minimally processed. My Organic Market and Cash Grocer Natural Foods are also major destinations on the areas organic map.
According to Dale Stirzel, the assistant store team leader at Whole Foods, Our store opening in January was highly anticipated. We had had the public requesting that we open a store in Alexandria since 2000 when our Annandale store opened. It is a very sophisticated, educated and health conscious community who welcomed the chance to have access to quality organic foods.
Stirzel added that the sales of the store have surpassed anything that had been projected with consistent business from the hotels, offices, and residents.
We have many local business people and government workers during our lunchtime crunch, he said. Our prepared food section offers them healthy and interesting options in a convenient format.