It doesn’t look like much when you walk in. The cash register and baklava counter up front don’t scream with the ambiance of an overpriced Mediterranean chain, nor do the aproned cooks and sizzling grill that take up most of the restaurant’s entryway. But it’s these unrefined quirks that give Jerusalem Garden its comfortable, unpretentious charm — the paper napkins, potted plants and wooden furniture tightly hugged by yellow walls.

The food itself, however, is what makes J-Garden really stand out in Ann Arbor’s sea of pita-and-hummus joints. It’s here where you can order a plate of the freshest falafel around, and tear your fork through hot, crispy layers until you hit its soft (and unmistakably green) chickpea center. It’s also here that classics such as the chicken shawarma and Jerusalem burger live and thrive in their pita-wrapped glory — and don’t forget the fabled spinach pies that aren’t always available to order, but keep Ann Arborites talking and coming back in enthusiastic groups whenever they are.

Jerusalem Garden is, in short, a bite-sized mecca of simple masterpieces: The hummus is always creamy, the tabbouli is always tart and you won’t feel out of place in a ratty jacket or oversized sweatshirt.

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