Baltimore is getting a taste of authentic Israeli food with Yesh Hummus, the newest addition to the Pikesville kosher food scene.
Yesh Hummus is a fleishig Israeli restaurant, featuring Israeli classics like shwarma, falafel, pargiyot, and of course, hummus. The official menu is still in progress, so expect to see more Israeli favorites added. The store opened its doors for business on June 1, with an official grand opening date still pending.
Owner Igal Shwartzer considers Yesh his dream project, “something I really had a desire to do.” Shwartzer came to the United States as a young adult and has “always craved really good Israeli food.”
While driving up and down Reisterstown Road between his existing businesses for years, Shwartzer felt drawn to 607 Reisterstown Road, with the idea of starting an Israeli restaurant there. After hearing numerous friends mention the need for an authentic Israeli place in Baltimore, Shwartzer decided to take the leap.
“The idea is to do something in the food industry that touches me, because Israel and Israeli food touches me,” Shwartzer said. “[I want to] bring out [that something special] and make it appealing, make it tasteful, make it fresh.”
Yesh Hummus is not like your average salad bar. Every item on Yesh’s menu, from the hummus to the falafel, is made fresh daily for maximum flavor and freshness. No preservatives are added to any of their dishes, and their falafel is even gluten-free.
Israeli cuisine is not new to Baltimore, as various existing restaurants incorporate Israeli dishes into their menus. However, Shwartzer emphasized the importance of having a restaurant dedicated solely to Israeli food.
“What makes Israeli food different is that it’s very basic, [but] it comes with thousands of years of culture,” Shwartzer said. “It’s so old, it’s the exact definition of authentic. I’m pretty sure Moses was [eating] hummus.”
Shwartzer also credits the spices and condiments used in Israeli food to what makes it so unique. The store has 10 homemade sauces available for customers to add to their food, including beet tahini, hamba, onion dip, and jalapeno sauce.
The name for Yesh is inspired by the word “yesh” and its use in the Hebrew language, particularly as a phrase of excitement and happiness during sporting events. Shwartzer describes the word as having a positive, upbeat connotation – and that is exactly how he wants people to feel when they eat at Yesh.
“I want people to leave here feeling like they just ate some fresh flavor,” he said.
The owner’s favorite item on the menu is their title dish: hummus. He recalls a popular saying in Israel: “Hummus you make with love, or you don’t make it at all.”
Yesh Hummus is under Star-K Certification. All baked goods are yoshon and pas yisroel, and all meats are glatt kosher.
Yesh Hummus is located at 607 Reisterstown Road across from Dougie’s. The store can be reached at (410) 484-9374. Yesh Hummus is open Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday 11 a.m.-3 p.m., and closed Saturdays.