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Naf Naf Grill chooses Woodbury

Come August, Woodbury residents can get their "naf" on, when the Naf Naf Grill opens in CityPlace. Plans for the fast-casual mediterranean restaurant were announced Monday. (Contributed photo)1 / 2
Naf Naf Grill will bring its fast-casual menu to Woodbury this summer. Falafel is one of the company's specialties. (Contributed photo)2 / 2

OK, Woodbury, it's almost time to get your Naf on.

What does that mean? That means the Naf Naf Grill is coming to Woodbury this summer.

Naf Naf Grill Senior Vice President of Development Justin T. Halpenny confirmed the fast-casual restaurant's arrival Monday. Scheduled to open in mid- to late-August, Naf Naf Grill will be located in Woodbury's CityPlace development.

The restaurant's main dishes are shawarma and falafel, but the company is very close to adding a new lamb kifta to its menu, Halpenny said.

"It's like a Middle Eastern hamburger," he said. "It's part lamb, part beef, ground into a patty that can be served in a pita pocket or bowl with fillings like salad, hummus or couscous."

Woodbury's will be one of the first in Minnesota—three are currently open, and four more, including the local location, are scheduled to open in 2016. With locations in Eden Prairie, Maple Grove and the U.S. Bank Plaza in Minneapolis, and future locations in the Mall of America and two more Minneapolis sites, Woodbury's is the only one that is planned for the east side of the metro area at this time.

That's not by chance, either.

"We feel that Woodbury fits our demographics perfectly," Halpenny said. "We cater to a high population of daytime workers, and we feel Woodbury is our kind of town when it came to the corporate demographics and the type of people who would like this kind of food.

"Woodbury is a food-smart city, very concentrated on health. That's our brand, too. We make all fresh food. We feel we're going to fit in very well in that area."

Naf Naf Grill cooks everything in front of its customers, Halpenny said. The menu includes all fresh items, from chopped salads to baked pitas and shawarmas spinning over an open flame. The bowls and pita sandwiches are made in front of customers, too.

The company is based out of Illinois, and has locations in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois.

So what's this "Get your Naf on" thing all about? Halpenny said it's kind of like saying, "Get your game on" before going out to play a sport.

"When we say, 'Get your Naf on,' it's like getting ready to eat Naf Naf," he said. "It's so silly, it's funny. It just kind of stuck there. A lot of our Facebook followers liked it."

To find out more about Naf Naf Grill, visit the Facebook page under the same name, or check it out online,

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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