Yet, the risk paid off. Nadav's "Falafel Place" that is open four hours a day, sells about 200 falafel meals. The locals love it.
Weiss arrived in Alaska after his army service and instead of continuing on the world tour he planned, he fell in love. Twice. First with the place, then with Terry – his Alaskan wife. When they made the ice state their home, they looked for a fulfilling job and a challenge. They decided on falafel.
There was only one problem with Nadav and Terry's Cinderella story: the couple couldn't cook falafel, nor could they find a pita in the entire state; so they opted for learning to make both. Four months of trials-and-errors later, they stumbled upon the winning recipe and opened a stand in Fairbanks.
"At first, our stand was located in the middle of the Framer's Market in town. As the lines grew longer and longer, we were moved to a corner where our customers wouldn't be in the way of shoppers," Nadav said.
Although the resemblance to the original is evident, there is one big difference: Nadav's $7 pita is stuffed with falafel, tehina, parsley and… lettuce. "Although I tell my customers that in Israel we prefer our falafel spicy and with pickles, the Alaskans' craving for lettuce couldn't be squashed. So I agreed," Nadav explained.
Despite his success, Nadav remained humble: "This story is not about an Israeli who traveled to Alaska to conquer it. I love this place but I wanted something to remind me of home." If you compare Nadav Weiss, 30, to a salesperson selling ice to Eskimos, he will laugh. Ice to Eskimos? That is no match for the challenge he took upon himself: selling falafel to the residents of Fairbanks, Alaska without ever cooking it before and in a place where most have never heard of the national Israeli food.