The Skeptical Consumer: Holy Land Deli Bakery & Grocery

1.66 pounds of the world’s best cucumber sauce: $8.28. A package of Ziyad brand biscuits: 79 cents. A gyro platter for two with fries and tahini : $7.99. Knowing that you can get kickass Middle Eastern fare in a multi-ethnic melting pot right here in Minneapolis: priceless.

After being tantalized by the aforementioned cucumber sauce at Kowalski’s and having heard Holy Land get talked up in the comments of a previous post, I finally decided to get out there.

Without question, it’s a trip that was long overdue. I’m increasingly convinced that mezze plates (usually some combination of cured meat, olives, stuffed grape leaves, cornichons, pita, red pepper spread, hummus and cheese) are the way to eat day-to-day during the summer. They’re cool. You can scale them up from a light snack to dinner for four with almost no effort. They offer a variety of fresh and exotic tastes. If you buy your stuff at Bill’s Imported Foods or Holy Land, they’re cheap — a little less so if you’re leaning on Lunds and Kowalski’s. And they’re actually relatively healthy (depending upon how hard you hit the cheese.)

But beyond serving as a mezze-stocking headquarters, Holy Land has a fairly robust restaurant operation. The gyros are excellent, the buffet is robust, and the prices are fair. If you’re restrained enough to split one of their lunch specials between two people, you can get away with paying $4 a pop for a meal that is thoroughly filling. And the gyro meat is tender enough to be cut easily by a plastic fork.

So, stock up on cheap spices, Middle Eastern baked desserts and exotic cheese in the grocery store, and then make your way over to the dining room for a hot lunch of extraordinary deliciousness. Holy Land’s a double threat.

2 Comments so far

  1. Alea (unregistered) on July 12th, 2007 @ 3:48 pm

    Pretty much the best Middle Eastern place in town. I’m glad you posted about it. The only thing I don’t think about it is how crowded it is all the time. But it’s well worth it. Delicious!!!!!!!!

  2. James Norton (unregistered) on July 12th, 2007 @ 4:29 pm

    Actually, the crowd — which was a mix of people of Middle Eastern, African and European heritages — was one of my favorite things about Holy Land. The multicultural hubbub reminded me of living in Brooklyn.

    But from a day-to-day shopping perspective I can see how you’d want there to be fewer people in there. :)

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