Maydan Owners Will Soon Open Northern Virginia’s First Restaurant

The owners of Maydan will soon open Kirby Club, their kebab-centric Eastern Mediterranean restaurant in Fairfax. Photograph courtesy of the Kirby Club

The team behind Compass Rose and Maydan is putting the finishing touches on the first of two Northern Virginia restaurants, including a name change. Their kebab-centric Eastern Mediterranean concept — opening next month in Fairfax’s Mosaic district — was once called Tawle. But owner Rose Previte has since decided to go with a more personal name that won’t be confused with Maydan’s family-style tawle menu: Kirby Club.

No, not the cucumber. Kirby Club gives a nod to a Lebanese-American company club in the Ohio town where Previte’s mother grew up. It was founded by immigrants like Previte’s maternal grandmother from the village of Kherbet Khanafar (“Kirby” in American slang). The social group, launched in 1933, held dances and picnics in their new American hometown that also served as matchmaking events for eligible first- and second-generation Lebanese-American descendants. Potluck spreads included Middle Eastern salads, flatbreads and, of course, kebabs.

“Being Lebanese-American in Ohio, we stood out. Food was our way of connecting,” says Previte, whose mother ran a Lebanese catering business. The restaurant will take on the 70s aesthetic of her childhood. “Kirby Club is the essence of what we want to do with food. There are original recipes from my childhood, or [chef] Omar [Hegazi] growing up in Egypt, but also through an American lens.

Bessara, a creamy fava dip from Hegazi’s native Egypt.

Kebabs will be the star of Mosaic’s 80-seat full-service restaurant and bar, which will also offer a substantial take-out/delivery option and a few on-the-go items. The team will draw inspiration from grilling and baking traditions in Turkey, Lebanon and Syria for the menu. Hegazi will also offer hearty dishes from his native Egypt, such as fried fava and herb falafel with sesame seeds, bessara (a creamy fava dip) or a grilled and marinated eggplant salad that he compare to kimchi. (“It was always in the fridge and we put it on everything,” he says.) Diners can order skewers of meat, seafood and vegetables with homemade flatbread, rice, salads , a variety of seasonal vegetables and of course, a Maydan-esque kaleidoscope of condiments.

“We want to make pita and kebab the new taco,” says Previte. “At one time, Mexican cuisine was foreign, but now it’s our adopted cuisine. I want to do this for the kebabs.

The team also plays with Eastern Mediterranean and American mashups like tahini or soft dates. A bar will serve cocktails influenced by the flavors of the cuisine, as well as wines from less represented regions and manufacturers.

Once the Mosaic Restaurant is up and running, the team can focus on future projects. A second Kirby Club is heading to Clarendon this spring with more dining and a rooftop bar. As first discovered by Eat DCMaydan owners also have a new DC project at 1328 Florida Ave., NW opposite the Michelin starred restaurant. Previte says they are still in the planning stage for the space, which has capacity for about 65 indoors and a patio. But she says one thing is for sure: the place won’t be a Kirby Club. Expect a reveal in the coming months and an opening next year.

Kirby Club. 2910 District Ave, Fairfax

food editor

Anna Spiegel covers the restaurant and bar scene in her native DC. Before joining Washingtonian in 2010, she completed the MFA program at the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in New York and St. John, in the US Virgin Islands.

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