brown barElvis Inn

Elvis in Jerusalem

The Elvis Inn at Abu Ghosh

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The Palestinian Arab town of Abu Ghosh lies inside Israel, just off Route 1, the highway from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. Legend has it that the town was named for a 19th century bandit who was granted the right, by the Ottomans, to collect 'taxes' from all travellers passing along the road.

In 1948 when the Israelis over-ran the town, the inhabitants fled for safety to the French Catholic monastery and Church of Notre Dame de l'Arche de l'Alliance (Our Lady of the Ark of the Covenant). It was the presence of the French Monks observing the actions of the Israelis which is credited with saving the town from being destroyed and the inhabitants killed as happened to so many other Arab villages during Israel's early days. Their homes were looted by the poorly controlled soldiers, but not destroyed.

Today the town has become known for its many restaurants. It is the only place in the Jerusalem area (other than Palestinian East Jerusalem where Israelis fear to go) where secular Jews (and the non-Jewish minority) can dine out on Friday night or Saturday, the Jewish sabbath. This niche marketing has paid off as one can easily see. The restaurants of Abu Gosh are packed on Fridays and Saturdays.

The most unlikely eatery in the region is just off Route 1 heading into Abu Ghosh. The Elvis Inn is so bad it's great. In front is a huge statue of 'the King'. Inside, the walls are covered with Elvis memorabilia. There are life-sized statues of Elvis at some of the tables, should one care to dine or be photographed with this American icon.

The menu runs to a combination of burgers and fries as well as more traditional middle eastern fare. The coffee is superb. The fries are not, but it is the ambience which makes the place memorable, not the cuisine. Order the special house coffee or a latte in a souvenir mug. When you return home, it will make you smile for years to come.

The Elvis Inn, Abu Ghosh.

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Elvis Inn

The Elvis Inn, Abu Ghosh, Israel.

Elvis Inn

Elvis sharing our table.

Elvis Inn

The Elvis Inn.

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This page was updated on 18 December 2007.

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