Eli’s Jerusalem Grill serves authentic Israeli cuisine

Chicken shawarma over rice with salad is one of many authentic Israeli dishes available at Eli's Jerusalem Grill on U.S. 280 East in Shelby County. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

Chicken shawarma over rice with salad is one of many authentic Israeli dishes available at Eli’s Jerusalem Grill on U.S. 280 East in Shelby County. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer

NORTH SHELBY – Eli Markshtien will spend hours on his feet to make sure every plate of food leaving the kitchen of Eli’s Jerusalem Grill meets his high standards.

“I say I need those plates to be perfect when they come out,” Eli Markshtien said. “Every plate is going to look the same.”

Eli Markshtien and his wife, Laurel Wurthmann-Markshtien, opened their restaurant in November in a space formerly occupied by Jersey Mike’s on U.S. 280 East in Shelby County.

Eli Markshtien and his wife, Laurel Wurthmann-Markshtien, opened Eli's Jerusalem Grill in early November. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

Eli Markshtien and his wife, Laurel Wurthmann-Markshtien, opened Eli’s Jerusalem Grill in early November. (Reporter Photo/Jon Goering)

The couple’s mission is to serve “the freshest produce, skillfully prepared quality meats, and all served with our homemade pita prepared daily in our kitchen, along with homemade soups and desserts, to bring you the tastiest and best loved food of Israel,” as the menu says.

Many of the restaurant’s dishes are based on recipes Eli learned by watching his grandmother cook in her 6-foot-by-6-foot kitchen in Israel.

“That’s what I grew up on,” he said of the food. “I’m keeping everything authentic.”

Shawarma (chicken and beef or lamb), falafel, kabob (beef, lamb or kefta) and homemade hummus are key items on the menu.

Basmati rice, Israeli couscous, Moroccan carrot salad and pita are among nearly a dozen sides that supplement the dishes.

Meats served at Eli’s Jerusalem Grill are grass-fed, and the menu contains gluten-free options.

Eli makes his own seasoning blends and sauces served on the side.

Laurel said she encouraged Eli to open the restaurant because of his love for cooking and the quality of his food.

“He always cooks for family and friends,” Laurel said of her husband. “I decided he needed to share his gift with other people.”

For him, the restaurant is a “dream” and a culmination of countless years of dedication to his culinary craft.

“I’ve been cooking for many years,” Eli said. “It’s a passion for me.”

Eli said he wanted to make sure everyone that comes into his restaurant “feels like family.”

“People of all backgrounds come and enjoy the atmosphere,” Laurel said. “Everyone does come from different backgrounds to enjoy that.”

Eli’s Jerusalem Grill is located at 4673 U.S. 280 East in Birmingham.

For more information, go to Facebook.com/elisjerusalemgrill or call 637-3658.