Aroma Espresso Bar, Israel’s largest restaurant franchise, will open its first Maryland location at Westfield Montgomery Mall, Friday, February 8.

There are currently Aromas in New York City, New Jersey and Florida, and about 140 locations in Israel.

The restaurant is similar to Panera in its set-up, offering coffee, soups, sandwiches, salads and pastries, some with an international twist (e.g., grilled halloumi cheese sandwiches, Bulgarian bureka).

Eddie Benaim, owner of Potomac’s Bezu restaurant and franchise developer for the Aroma chain in the Maryland-Virginia-DC area with a couple of local partners, said the new shop will officially open to the public at 7 a.m. on Friday. A soft opening is scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday, February 7, between 5 and 9 p.m.