The titular hummus at Oren's Hummus (Photo/Oren's Hummus Facebook)
The titular hummus at Oren's Hummus (Photo/Oren's Hummus Facebook)

Peninsula favorite Oren’s Hummus adding SF location

The battle cry of “rip, scoop and eat” soon will be heard in San Francisco.

Oren’s Hummus, the popular South Bay purveyor of Israeli food, will open its first restaurant in the city next month, and already owner Oren Dobronsky has big plans, especially for morning customers.

“We are doing breakfast,” Dobronsky said of the S.F. restaurant. “We don’t do that in the others. It’s going to have an Israeli breakfast, which is basically a combo of two eggs, a salad, different breads, sides and a hot plate.”

Located at 71 Third St., near the Contemporary Jewish Museum and the SFMOMA, the restaurant will have a 120-seat capacity and feature the items that made Oren’s a hit in its original Palo Alto location, as well as in Mountain View and Cupertino.

The menu features six varieties of hummus, with the garbanzo beans, tahini and spices all imported from Israel. Other staples include falafel, pita made in an Israeli bread-making machine, sabich (fried eggplant), chicken schnitzel, shakshouka, baba ghanoush and tabbouleh.

Dobronsky never ran a restaurant before opening the first Oren’s Hummus in 2011. He is an Israeli-born internet entrepreneur, having launched and sold several startups over the last 20 years. He and his family have lived in Palo Alto since 2008.


RELATED: Israeli ex-pats reshape Jewish life in the South Bay


After moving to the Bay Area, Dobronsky missed having a taste of home.

“What motivated me was 100 percent not financial,” Dobronsky told J. in 2012. “I wanted a community place. My family told me I was crazy, that I’d lose money. I said, you’re probably right.”

In the South Bay, which boasts a large Israeli expat community, Dobronsky estimated Israelis make up at least 15 percent of his customer base. For them, it is “way more than a restaurant. It connects them to home, it reminds them of home,” he said a year after its opening.

The original restaurant has a casual décor and features signs that encourage diners to grab a pita bread and then “rip, scoop and eat.”

The stores in Mountain View and Cupertino boast a more upscale décor, as will the new restaurant in San Francisco.

In addition to tables for dining in, the new restaurant will “also have a dedicated entrance for people who pick up and go,” Dobronsky said. “They don’t need to go into the restaurant. There will be a kiosk where they can order.”

He also hopes to create an app so diners can order, pre-pay and pick up quickly.

For Dobronsky, success as a restaurateur was an unanticipated career surprise, and he gives his wife, Nancy, much of the credit.

“It was my idea, but I didn’t understand anything,” he said. “My wife had the experience in restaurants and she really made the first one happen. For me it’s a dream come true, having the passion for this kind of food and for it to succeed well beyond my wildest imaginations.”

 

Dan Pine

Dan Pine is J.'s news editor. He can be reached at dan@jweekly.com.