Three small businesses start operations in downtown Ithaca

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Adam Grill is one of three new businesses that have started operations in downtown Ithaca. (PHOTO CREDIT: ITHACA DOWNTOWN ALLIANCE)

ITHACA — Two restaurants and a waxing parlor are now operating in downtown Ithaca.

The companies are Lev Kitchen, Adam Grill and the Pretty Peach Wax Studio.

Representatives from the City of Ithaca, the Downtown Ithaca Alliance (DIA) and the Tompkins Chamber participated in the April 22 groundbreaking ceremonies at each of the businesses, the DIA said.

“We are thrilled to welcome these three businesses to our community,” said Gary Ferguson, executive director of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance. “Each of them brings a unique experience to our area, and we hope the community will enjoy the dining experiences at Adam Grill and The Lev Kitchen and try the self-care services at The Pretty Peach. We thank each of them for their investment and look forward to seeing them prosper and grow.

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Lev Kitchen is one of three new businesses that started operations in downtown Ithaca and were recognized by the April 22 ribbon cuttings. (PHOTO CREDIT: ITHACA DOWNTOWN ALLIANCE)

Lev Kitchen, located at 222 E. State St. on Ithaca Commons, specializes in Middle Eastern cuisine. Its concept is inspired by a Yemeni flatbread called Malawach and the fusion of distinctive cuisines and cultures from countries like Israel, Lebanon and Syria, as described in the DIA announcement.

Benjamin Plotke and Yen Wu, both graduates of the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, are the owners of this new restaurant.

For its employees, the couple works with Ithaca Welcomes Refugees; English open house; and Catholic charities to obtain referrals for people who may have difficulty finding employment due to language or cultural barriers.

The Adam Grill story began in Ithaca two years ago when owner Galal Hassanien (aka Jimmy) brought his family and street food business from Brooklyn to Ithaca Commons. In late 2021, the business found a new home in the Ithaca Center food court. The restaurant focuses on Halal food items such as gyros, kebabs, rice bowls, falafels, and other popular Mediterranean dishes. Souad Azzouay, Galal’s wife, prepares the fresh baklava available daily. Adam Grill also serves other fresh baked goods, such as muffins and croissants, DIA said.


The Pretty Peach Wax Studio, which launched in Syracuse, has added a second location in Ithaca. (PHOTO CREDIT: ITHACA DOWNTOWN ALLIANCE)

The Pretty Peach Wax Studio has a team of beauticians who offer their clients a range of waxing services. Joy Draper is the creator and owner of Pretty Peach, which has its flagship location in Syracuse.

Before launching the Pretty Peach, Draper worked in the pharmaceutical industry, but she eventually “got tired of corporate America” ​​and decided to start her own company, DIA said. In 2017, she earned her hair removal certification from Shear Ego International School in Rochester. A year later, she launched the Pretty Peach.

“Once again the vibrancy of our community has been enhanced by inspiring entrepreneurs like Joy, Jimmy and Ben & Yen – adding quality products and services to our mix of local businesses,” said Jennifer Taveres, President and CEO of Tompkins County. Chamber of Commerce, said.

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