The gourmet-truck ranks expand with the incipient rollout of TamMobile, the vehicular offshoot of the popular West Village falafel shop that partner David Shapiro aims to take out for trial runs early next week, before officially launching November 29. Shapiro, who left the world of high finance for haute food trucks, came to falafel almost by accident, after toying with the idea of various types of ethnic sandwiches and consulting truck veteran and junior-high schoolmate Lev Ekster of CupcakeStop for meals-on-wheels advice. Through Nektarios Ioannidis, an architect and eventual TamMobile partner, he was introduced to Tam chef-owner Einat Admony and her husband and partner, Stefan Nafziger, and soon realized the portable potential of the fried-to-order falafel. "It's vegetarian, it's gluten-free [minus the pita, at least], it's much more gourmet," says Shapiro, who's been dutifully training in Tam's cramped kitchen since June.
Nafziger outfitted the truck's kitchen, which might be more commodious than the storefront's, with a conveyor toaster oven that can warm 500 pitas an hour. Not that Shapiro anticipates that kind of volume right away. He plans to start slowly and stealthily by cruising Soho, then expanding throughout Manhattan and into Brooklyn, where much of Tam's constituency resides, according to Admony. (Beginning November 28, routes can be found at twitter.com/taimmobile.) The menu features the signature green falafel, in sandwich and platter form, along with smoothies, fries, and a new quinoa salad. On the horizon: Tam's excellent sabich sandwich, an Iraqi-Jewish assemblage of fried eggplant, hard-boiled egg, and hummus, coming soon to a curbside near you.