Health-conscious eating is all too often at odds with fast food.
But local fans of Greek and Middle Eastern street food know where to reconcile cost, convenience and comfort with the desire for wholesome meals.
Happy Falafel serves "Mediterranean-style fast food" from a hole-in-the-wall storefront in an Ashland strip mall within easy walking distance of Southern Oregon University. The namesake dish, a fritter of ground, seasoned chickpeas, is a popular vegetarian snack throughout the Middle East. Several versions of souvlaki, including grilled chicken, shrimp and organic lamb, are commonplace Greek fare. Whatever their provenance, the pita-pocket and flatbread sandwiches command a loyal following locally.
"I don't eat out a whole lot, so for me to choose this ... it's one of my favorites," says Ashland resident Charlie McChesney. "I always get a falafel."