Best New Franchise
1817 M St. NW; (202) 290-3117
After opening its first North American franchise in Philly six years ago, the Netherlands-based Maoz Vegetarian has been steadily infiltrating major U.S. markets. D.C. would seem an unlikely target for a falafel takeover, what with Amsterdam and Max’s Kosher Cafe already turning out excellent balls, but Maoz is apparently not intimidated. And for good reason: The chain offers the perfect trifecta of quality, quantity, and value. (A full falafel meal with fries and soda runs about $9.) Its first D.C. outpost, unassumingly located in a basement storefront on the restaurant-heavy strip of M Street NW between 18th and 19th, opened quietly last year and retains the chain’s signature austere, modern décor and its all-you-can-stuff salad bar, whose frustratingly small plastic cups make each visit an exercise in strategic condiment placement.