SOUTH ORANGE, NJ -- After a five-week renovation, Falafel-ly Yours has reopened with expanded dining space and entertainment.

The Middle Eastern and Moroccan cuisine-themed restaurant has expanded and taken over the space next door that was Pete's Barber Shop. The restaurant added a Moroccan lounge complete with belly dancers and traditional Moroccan musicians on weekends at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

The grand reopening of Falafel-ly Yours took place over Memorial Day weekend.

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Owner Nabil "Robert" Talsmat opened Falafel-ly Yours just over a year ago. "I wanted to open a restaurant in South Orange because of the diversity of the people and the neighborhood," he said. "I chose Middle Eastern cuisine because people love this kind of food."

After being diagnosed with cancer several years ago, Talsmat said he thought about how this could happen to such a young man. He was only 33 at the time. His research led him to believe that diet played a major role in his illness.

He's not alone in that assessment. According to a study by The National Center for Biotechnology Information, evidence indicates that while 25 percent to 30 percent of all cancer deaths are due to tobacco, as many as 35 percent are linked to diet.

Talsmat said he decided his restaurant would have all organic ingredients. The meat served is also Halal. Halal is an Arabic word that means "permissible."

Jazz & Blues Tuesdays are a regular event at Falafel-ly Yours and feature Talsmat's wife, Jennifer Starr-Talsmat. She sings with Jim Popik accompanying  on guitar. All of the decorations in the new Moroccan Lounge were imported directly from Morocco, designed to give the lounge an authentic feel.

Falafe-ly Yours, 50 South Orange Ave., is open Monday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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