Sunday, June 21, 2015

From the roar of the Great Falls to a bustling Middle Eastern bazaar

Paterson's Great Falls, now part of a national park, is a major tourist attraction in a city that also boasts a bustling neighborhood of Middle Eastern and Turkish restaurants and bakeries.


If like me you hate traffic noise and all of those annoying motorcycles, I've found a roar both of us can live with.

On a visit to Paterson's Great Falls, you'll witness the power of Mother Nature and hear the glorious roar of falling water, which completely drowns out the human cacophony.

Then, you can drive a couple of miles to the city's South Paterson neighborhood for a snack of freshly prepared falafel, and to shop in Fattal's, where you'll find bread, pastries, meat, olives and olive oil, shelves of groceries and even gold bracelets.

Fattal's Spinach & Cheese Pies have no artificial ingredients, and they freeze beautifully.

Good food, free parking

Fattal's isn't the only Main Street store with free parking, but the lot is one of the biggest and on the weekends, a tall man acts as part guard, part traffic cop, directing you to a free space and helping you back out when it's time to leave.

After I visited the Great Falls on Saturday, I stopped at Fattal's for 18 cans of Al Shark-brand Moroccan Sardines in Tomato Sauce (99 cents each) and a tray of Spinach & Cheese Pies ($8.99).

I also picked up a half-gallon of Ayran Original Yogurt Drink, which has a lower sodium content than competing brands ($5.49).

On the next block, I went into Salah Edin Middle Eastern Restaurant and ordered $4 worth of falafel balls (7 for $1) and a small container of tahini sauce ($3).

I had to wait about 15 minutes while they were prepared, but when I got to my car, I ate two of the piping hot falafel dipped in tahini.

I could taste them all the way home.

Lunch spot

If you want more than a falafel snack, Aleppo Restaurant at Main and Thomas streets serves an array of Syrian specialties.

Three of my favorites are lentil soup; muhammara, a spicy dip made of sweet and hot red peppers, and the chopped Arabic Salad. 


Great Falls National Historical Park, 72 McBride Ave., Paterson. National Park Service Welcome Center open 7 days.

Fattal's, 975-77 Main St., Paterson; 1-973-742-7125. Open 7 days, free parking lot.

Salah Edin Middle Eastern Restaurant, 995 Main St., Paterson; 1-973-225-0575. Open 7 days. Credit-card minimum is $10.

Aleppo Restaurant, 939 Main St., Paterson; 1-973-977-2224. Open 7 days. Call for hours during the holy month of Ramadan, which ends July 17. No alcohol allowed. 

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