When Falafel Shlomo opened, Mea She'arim and its neighboring enclaves were far more mixed. The pious and less pious shared the neighborhood, as did Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jews.
Today, even the Buchari neighborhood, named after the city in Uzbekistan where its founders originated, is mostly Ashkenazi and ultra-Orthodox.
On Fridays it joins many businesses in the neighborhood in offering prepared food for families for the Sabbath. The tables are removed and the interior fills with the scent of salmon in mustard and Yemenite gizzard soup.
Visits to Mea She'arim are often likened to journeys into the past, specifically into 18th century Poland, but Jerusalem of the 60s, 70s and 80s is frozen here too. The street this is now the only source in town for such bygone goodies as red, rooster shaped lollypops.
It also offers a true popcorn extravaganza. Five stores on the block make fresh popcorn from large, classic machines.
The buttery, roasted smell evokes the iconic Edison movie house, a secular anomaly on the border of Haredi and secular Jerusalem that used to operate in the building next door.
Large signs scattered around the small shops declare Doron's popcorn and roasted nuts to be "of Jewish roasting".
In most cases a non-Jew can be involved in the roasting, but a Jew must light the fire, or physically stick them in the oven. The rabbis differ on this, and the Ashkenazim are atypically less strict."