Cooking With: Phenomenal Falafel offers creative taste to Steamboat in new location |

Cooking With: Phenomenal Falafel offers creative taste to Steamboat in new location

Bob and Katie Samardzic, owners of Phenomenal Falafel in Steamboat Springs, offer creative recipes at their new location downtown.

On one of Bob and Katie Samardzic's excursions through Maui, an idea for a new endeavor emerged.

It all started with the taste of a falafel sandwich – one they couldn't forget.

"We had this curry sauce from a falafel we tried stuck in our mind for years," said Katie Samardzic. "It was the inspiration for our Indian-inspired recipe, the Punjabi."

Always tasting, testing and willing to try something new, the Samardzics own Phenomenal Falafel and recently moved their business to a new location for their Mediterranean-style restaurant, 1117 Lincoln Ave.

After moving from a food truck five years ago to their pop-up location at Sweet Pea in the winter of 2016, they moved into their new space about three weeks ago and plan on expanding and building upon their creative recipes for a menu that will feature their regular sandwiches, sides, wraps, salads, plates, and now, dinner.

"Some of the items you see on the menu came together really quickly while others took a bit of time," said Bob.

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Their falafel mix – the vessel that is the base for most of their recipes – includes Garbanzo beans, red onion, garlic, cumin, cilantro, parsley and their "super spice mix" which is part of their “secret” tried and true recipe.

To make the falafel, the mix is put through a grinder to create a meal substance that is then made into little balls. For the last step, they put the falafel balls into a fryer and then those are used in a variety of their recipes.

"It's universal ingredients from around the world," Bob said. "You can draw a line connecting all the places that we represent and see the similarities in culinary traditions."

But the "wow factor" of their operation, Bob said is in the toppings, relishes and pickles. Those include the tahini, tzatziki, Thai slaw, avocado cream and mango-habanero "chutney."

An idea that turn out so well was the falafel breakfast burrito.

But then the Samardzics have favorites like the Punjabi, which features a spicy pico, curry yogurt with over 18 ingredients.

In the future, the couple hope to expand Phenomenal Falafel to other ski towns, but for now, they look forward to offering new and creative falafel recipes to Steamboat Springs.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1