Around Town

New Lebanese restaurant to take over former Chopt space in Vienna

El Jana owner Rabih Abi-Aad signs a lease to bring the Lebanese restaurant to Vienna Shopping Center (courtesy Rappaport)

(Updated at 4:50 p.m.) Vienna Shopping Center has found a new occupant for the suite vacated over the winter by Chopt.

A Lebanese restaurant called El Janna has signed a lease for the 2,702-square-foot space and is slated to open at 160 Maple Avenue West this fall, property manager Rappaport announced yesterday (Wednesday).

“I am thrilled to bring El Janna to the Vienna community,” Rappaport Senior Director of Brokerage Chris Pamboukian said. “I think this restaurant will be great for the area and fill a demand for elegant Lebanese dining options.”

With a name that translates from Lebanese as “paradise,” El Janna will serve “traditional Mediterranean favorites alongside modern reimaginings,” according to the press release.

The concept comes from chef Rabih Abi-Aad, who has been trained in Lebanese cuisine and French pastry. He previously worked as general manager at Neyla and Paolo’s Ristorante in Georgetown before becoming a co-owner of Me Jana, a Lebanese restaurant in Arlington.

Now, Abi-Aad will bring similar cuisine to Vienna with his new restaurant.

“I come from a village in Lebanon called Dfoun,” Abi-Aad said. “I have had years of experience working in the culinary discipline and previously owned a restaurant in Arlington. I am excited for the opportunity to share my culture and cuisine with the Vienna area.”

Located at the corner of Maple Avenue and Courthouse Road, Vienna Shopping Center was once anchored by the grocery store MacGruder’s but pivoted to smaller retail spaces with a major renovation that finished in 2017.

Chopt was among several restaurants to arrive with the grand reopening in 2016, along with Taco Bamba and Mod Pizza. The 73,852-square-foot shopping center currently has four available spaces, including one that was filled by Cava until the fast-casual eatery relocated to 418 Maple Avenue East.