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Sahara Middle Eastern expanding to Uptown

ABQ Uptown will soon be home to Sahara Express. (Journal file)

ABQ Uptown will soon be home to Sahara Express. (Journal file)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — There’s some falafel in store for ABQ Uptown.

The family behind Albuquerque’s Sahara Middle Eastern Eatery is expanding with a new location at the open-air shopping center. The 900-square-foot “Sahara Express” is expected to open later this spring.

Owners Tom and Areeg Khalil will serve most of the same dishes they have offered for more than nine years at their original site across from University of New Mexico, including customer favorites like the gyros and falafel. Areeg Khalil, who comes from Jordan by way of New York, says most of Sahara’s menu has “a Lebanese flair.” Other choices include sandwiches, salads and kabobs.

Sahara’s new spot, last used by Firma Energy Wear, is small; Khalil says it can seat about 10 but will also feature some outdoor dining space. She said she sees the new place appealing to those on the go.

“We could use a fast option but in the Uptown (area),” she said.

ABQ Uptown’s current dining lineup includes a mix of full-service establishments like Marcello’s Chophouse and Bravo as well as more casual concepts like Sushi Freak and McAlister’s Deli.