Their daily bread

With two successful restaurants under their belts, Focachetta and Focaccia Bar owners Mazal and Ram Yedid are enjoying their bounty.

Focaccia 311 (photo credit: Barry A. Kaplan)
Focaccia 311
(photo credit: Barry A. Kaplan)
When you meet Mazal and Ram Yedid, you understand how much of a team they are.
They have been working together for the past 26 years, with Ram as the chef and Mazal doing other things related to restaurants.
They met at a restaurant where Mazal worked as a waitress after Ram finished the army. After working in several other restaurants, in 1986 they went to Boston, where Ram had a sister who had opened a restaurant in Charlestown, Massachusetts.
“I also worked in a bakery, so I developed a recipe for focaccia,” explains Ram.
Returning to Israel in 1991, they opened a Jerusalem restaurant, Pepperoni’s, where the kitchen of the Focaccia Bar is now located.
“It was nice Italian, free antipasti and a lot of food,” says Mazal, who managed the restaurant while Ram was chef.
In 1995 the couple decided to expand the restaurant in partnership with Ram’s brother, Guy.
“We wanted to do something different, and we knew we wanted to offer the Italian focaccia bread,” says Mazal, “so we decided to call the restaurant Focaccia Bar.”
Located in a 19th-century house, Focaccia Bar dissects two eating areas, and there is a private room in back. The restaurant’s large glassed-in, twolevel garden has an accordion canvas ceiling and is heated in winter.
The oven is used to bake the pizzasize focaccia (20 kilos of dough is made in the morning) with five-kilo lots made every three to four hours, depending on demand.
In 1998 Ram, Guy and Mazal opened Anashim in Ein Kerem, which they operated for a few years.
All the while, Ram says, “I made up the menus and I taught the cooks.”
In 2004 they opened Focachetta, a comfortable, tastefully decorated gourmet restaurant and bar that serves lunches and dinners at affordable prices. The menu includes meat, seafood and pasta.
Today, Ram still supervises the six to seven cooks each at Focachetta and Focaccia Bar. “I teach them all the time, and I make new dishes,” he says. He also handles all the business meetings.
Focaccia Bar has 10 specials, which change every day. They range from gravlax marinated in herbs (NIS 28) to beef ring on the grill with salad and mashed potatoes (NIS 69). The regular menu offers breakfast, sandwiches, appetizers, entrees, pasta, noodles, pizza, focaccia and salads. There is an extensive wine list (glasses to bottles) and hot, cold and alcoholic beverages.
Both Mazal and Ram travel often.
“When you are a chef, you always study,” says Ram. “When we go to London or New York, we eat many times a day to try something new.”
Most recently Ram was in Morocco, where Mazal’s father was born, because he heard about certain spices. “Now I am trying to do something with these spices,” he says.
Mazal was recently in New York and brought back ideas for entrees, which Ram is trying. “It’s not really work because we are enjoying what we do,” says Mazal.
Mazal spends most of her time managing Focachetta, which features five to six new dishes every day. She also does the cooking at home for Ram and their three sons.
As for the future, Mazal says, “I think we’ve gotten everything.”
“The restaurants are big successes,” adds Ram. “We do what we like to do, and we love our businesses.”
Focachetta is located at 4 Rehov Shlomzion Hamalka. It is not kosher, open seven days a week from noon until the last customer. Tel: 624-3222.
Focaccia Bar is located at 4 Rehov Rabbi Akiva, a small street off Hillel, near the Jerusalem Tower Hotel. It is not kosher, open seven days a week from 10 a.m.

breakfast to 1 or 2 a.m. Tel: 625-6428.