Alexandria NewsCommunity NewsFoodie NewzZebra Misc

La’Baik Mediterranean Restaurant Opens in Del Ray Neighborhood

group of people cutting a red ribbon in front or a reddish brown two story wooden building
City leaders and elected officials gather to help cut the ribbon of La’Baik, the new Mediterranean-focused restaurant now open at 2309 Mount Vernon Avenue. (Photo: Liz Bastos)

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Previously Stomping Ground, then most recently Rubia’s Tacos, 2309 Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray is now the happy home of La’Baik, a new, fast casual Mediterranean restaurant. 

Get your falafel fix, habibi! (Habibi is the Arabic word that means “beloved” or “dear” or “friend,” or, as they say in Baltimore “hon.”) La’Baik has only been open for five hours (as of this writing) and it has already garnered high praise on Google reviews including, “this place is fantastic.” And, “One word: superb!”

Man glances into bakery case
Councilmembers John Taylor Chapman Sarah Bagley considering the options at La’Baik. (Photo: Liz Bastos)

La’Baik’s grand opening and ribbon cutting was on Saturday, March 30. It was really special. Members of The Del Ray Business Association and the Alexandria City Council sang

Yes, sang

Was the chorus in praise of the best falafel this Zebra has had in the city? No. It was for a major family holiday. La’Baik owner Mohammad Abdel-Hay’s son’s first birthday. Everybody sang ‘Happy Birthday” to him.

Bearded man in baseball style hat and a sweater smiling.
One of owner Mohammad Abel-Hay’s great smiles. (Photo: Liz Bastos)

While the birthday boy beamed in his mother’s arms, and his older sisters gathered nearby for the ribbon cutting, Abdel-Hay said, “This is a really joyful occasion. We are so proud to be here.” He is a man prone to smiles. So he smiled. Like the consummate host he is, he threw his arms wide and said, “After the ribbon cutting, come in, come inside and have something to eat!”

Jars on a shelf
Delicious pickled cauliflower and other vegetables on one of the shelves at La’Baik. (Photo: Liz Bastos)

“La’Baik, in Arabic, means ‘I am here to serve,’” he said. “And I am here to serve you. I want to feed you…and keep feeding you!”

Abdel-Hay  has been working in restaurants since he was 8 years old (his family currently owns the New York Grill in D.C).  Hospitality is in his blood. He wants to make people happy. He wants to make people comfortable. “Come in and sit and have an orange juice! Try this hummus!” he told this Zebra. 

Case with fresh baklava and cookies and croissants sits at the end of the long counter at La'Baik.
Case with fresh baklava and cookies and croissants sits at the end of the long counter at La’Baik. (Photo: Liz Bastos)

He also wants to make people full from his family’s recipes.

Twist no one’s arm! The people have been waiting! Episcopal High School math teacher Stacie Galiger, shopping at the Del Ray Farmers Market with her daughters said, “It’s finally open! We’ve been walking past this place every week, full of anticipation.”

To this delightful section of Mt. Vernon Ave. that this Zebra has been affectionately calling Carb Row (because it hosts Gustave’s croissants and Bagel Uprising’s bagels)  now can be added La’Baik’s flatbread manakesh with za’atar (a spice mixture made with thyme).

Head-covered Lady and child in here arms
The birthday boy Nassim with his mother, Mariam on opening ay at La’Baik. (Photo: Liz Bastos)

“Come in everyone,” said Abdel-Hay. 

Into the restaurant the illuminati of the city went after the ribbon cutting, following the irresistible fragrance of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors. Fresh baklava, habibi! Pita bread, pickled turnips, chicken shawarma, that delicious manakesh. 

“The mint slushee is my favorite,” said one of Abdel-Hay’s young daughters (and future restaurateur?) of the thirst-quencher officially listed on the menu as Fresh Mint Lemonade. “You should have one one.”

People eating at a restaurant counter
City Council members sampling Mediterranean food happily at the La’Baik counter. (Photo: Liz Bastos)

La’Baik is a family business. Behind the counter, serving Councilman John Taylor Chapman and Vice Mayor Amy Jackson samples of shawarma and Lebanese salad were Abel-Hay’s father and brother, like-minded restaurant professionals.  Abel-Hay’s wife welcomed everyone, her newly-one son still in her arms.  She said, “I’m so glad you’re here. Thank you for coming.”

Chalkboard A-frame sign with the words Grand Opening March 30th on it in front of the La'Baik building.
Located in the former home of Stomping Ground and Rubio’s Tacos, there are high hopes for La’Baik. (Photo: Liz Bastos)

Sue Kovalsky, agent with the Jen Walker Team and past president of the Del Ray Business Association said of the new business, “It’s fantastic! What better place for a family-oriented restaurant than the family-oriented neighborhood of Del Ray?” 

Councilman Chapman added, “La’Baik being here is going to turn this corner into a great gathering place for the community.” Then he added, “Have you tried the pickled cauliflower yet? You should. It’s great.”


TRENDING in ALEXANDRIA: Monumental Flop, Arena will not Move Forward in Alexandria

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button