Despite enduring COVID-19 shutdowns, Lebanese Taverna has spent the last 11 months working to ensure it can continue to serve its community. To learn about everything from daily operations and the best offerings from the Lebanese Taverna Market, to the restaurant's choice to help feed National Guard Troops protecting the United States Capitol, LHA's Communications Manager sat down with Grace Abi-Najm Shea, the business' Executive Vice President this week.
GS: The images of US troops lining up to protect our Capitol moved us to do what we do, take care of people. Taking care of people is what we do, and we thought, what better way to take care of these troops than through their stomachs?! We’ve been doing similar work throughout the pandemic for health care workers and saw an opportunity to take care of the men and women protecting our city and our country. We partnered with Micheline Mendelson from We, the Pizza which is located on Capitol Hill. That restaurant is the distribution point, so we meet those in charge there to hand off the food. We started off the first couple of days with Chicken Shawarma Salads - we were thinking of their health! Now we're making stews with rice and have included vegetarian options as well. We’ve provided over 1,000 meals so far.
thankfully we haven't had much of an impact there - but we've definitely had to get creative with our restaurants!
MPH: How are your employees doing?
GS: As you can imagine, it’s a challenging time. Restaurant kitchens do not have the luxury of social distancing, but we are doing everything we can to keep our team safe. We’ve been lucky so far and are grateful to our staff, most whom have been with us for over 15 years!
MPH: 15 years, that's amazing! How long has the restaurant been open?
slightly, you mentioned the Lebanese Taverna Market - what kinds of things does it have available for purchase?
GS: It’s a nice little mix of prepared food, international grocery, wines & beers, cheese, and gourmet chocolate. We like to support local business and you will often find things made right here in Arlington!
MPH: What is your favorite thing on the menu and favorite thing you sell at the market?
GS: That’s a tough one, but I'd say my favorite thing is Hummus. I eat a lot of it and I never get tired of it. I am also a chocoholic so Kingsbury caramels and truffles are my addiction!!
MPH: Looking forward...what do you envision for the future of Lebanese Taverna?
nowadays. How can the Arlington community best support Lebanese Taverna?
GS: We are so, so grateful for our Arlington community. We live and work in Arlington and our neighbors truly take care of us. We raised over $150,000 in August for those affected by the explosion in Lebanon and we are beyond thankful. I would say, keep doing what you’re doing Arlington, continue eating Hummus, tell your friends about us, and shop at the Lebanese Taverna Market!
MPH: We'll convey the message! Thanks so much Grace, and best of luck.
GS: Thanks Maia.