Lebanese Taverna launching membership program, continues to embrace Arlington as home

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The four-decade-old, Arlington-born Lebanese Taverna is launching a caller rank service, providing customers with a “Chef’s Tasting” paper oregon a curated enactment of Lebanese wines astatine location each month.

“This is simply a mode to stock our culture, similar the things we bash astatine home, the snacks that we eat, and the things that my parents utilized to make,” co-owner Grace Abi-Najm Shea tells ARLnow. “This is benignant of deconstructing the nutrient and the civilization from the edifice and bringing it to your home.”

The rotating offerings volition item “some of the much authentic and under-explored parts of our menu,” the website notes. This could see stuffed rolled cabbage, shanklesh (Lebanese food balls), oregon okra and lamb stew.

“This is for the idiosyncratic who’s consenting to beryllium adventurous,” Shea says.

The vino rank (called “A Lebanese Wine Tour”) includes options for two, four, oregon six bottles a period and volition person wines from “old, historical vineyards to caller up-and-coming wineries.”

The archetypal nutrient and vino rank boxes volition beryllium disposable for pick-up oregon transportation starting aboriginal this month, Dec. 16.

Lebanese Taverna’s archetypal determination opened in 1979 successful Arlington’s Westover vicinity and remains a staple of the community’s commercialized strip. The edifice was founded by immigrants Tanios and Marie Abi-Najm, who had travel to the U.S. to fly the civilian warfare successful their location state of Lebanon.

Since past the edifice has expanded to much than a twelve locations successful Virginia, Maryland, and D.C., including antithetic concepts similar the fast-casual Lebtav, which has a determination successful Ballston. The archetypal Westover edifice astatine 5900 Washington Blvd remains astatine the bosom of the company, which is present tally by the 5 Abi-Najm siblings, including Grace.

She says the past 20 months, which saw eating rooms shuttered and a emergence successful takeout and delivery, person been a “roller coaster” and person made it wide that the household needs to accommodate to a caller world for restaurants, Shea said.

“I’m definite you’ve heard the connection pivot a 1000 times, but restaurants person to find antithetic ways to get their products to their customers and find caller customers,” Shea says.

The rank thought was calved retired of the occurrence the household has seen with the Lebanese Taverna Market astatine 4400 Old Dominion Road adjacent Waverly Hills, wherever customers are capable to instrumentality location dishes, snacks, and wines.

Throughout the pandemic Arlington has remained a stronghold for Lebanese Taverna, Shea said, noting that speedy work and takeout concern person remained peculiarly beardown here. Locations extracurricular of the region saw bigger drops successful business.

“In Arlington, they person watched america turn up. They person a peculiar spot successful our bosom and I deliberation we person a peculiar spot successful their heart,” said Shea. While talking, she got a small choked up.

“Arlington has been our biggest cheerleader since time one,” Shea said.

Overall, Lebanese Taverna is astatine astir 80% to 90% of pre-pandemic sales, she notes.

Despite pugnacious times, the edifice and the household has continued to assistance charitable causes they judge in. Last summer, Lebanese Taverna spearheaded a fundraising drive to enactment alleviation efforts successful Lebanon aft an explosion successful Beirut killed hundreds and injured thousands. Over $150,000 was raised done those efforts, Shea says.

This past August, the household besides helped raise money for Lebanese citizens to assistance with their substance and energy needs. Around the aforesaid time, the edifice worked with the World Central Kitchen to provide meals for Afghan refugees.

Shea is encouraged by the continued instrumentality to normalcy with income returning person to pre-pandemic levels and cooking classes astatine the Lebanese Taverna Market coming back successful January. But she remains acrophobic astir the aboriginal owed to the newly-announced variant and the already-here acold upwind limiting outdoor dining.

“As bully arsenic I consciousness astir wherever we are contiguous is arsenic frightened arsenic I americium astir tomorrow,” she says.

Meanwhile, Shea and her household volition support serving Arlingtonians flavors of their location country, whether it’s wrong a edifice oregon astatine home, arsenic they person been for much than 40 years.

“My full household is truthful passionate astir our culture, our food, our cuisine,” she says. “We are looking guardant to giving customers thing a spot antithetic than the edifice experience.”

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