Around Town

A new Lebanese cafe is brewing in former McLean Subway

A former Subway in McLean will soon be filled with the tastes, scents and atmosphere of the Levant.

The owners of Dolce Vita Salon & Spa at 6829 Elm Street are expanding their presence in the office building by opening Cafe Levantine just next door, taking over a space vacated by Subway last year, according to the landlord, Marva Properties.

Located in Suite 150, the cafe will serve food from the eastern Mediterranean area, particularly Lebanon, the homeland of owners Fatima Farran and Jean-Paul Achour.

“My husband and I have a true passion for coffee,” Farran said. “It’s always been a dream of ours to open some sort of café or bed and breakfast, and we heard that the Subway next door might be leaving, so we were like, ‘Why not?'”

Though she obtained a college degree in electrical engineering, Farran told FFXnow that she loves cooking, baking and hosting. She will be running the kitchen herself, making sweets and other food from recipes passed down by her grandmother, aunts and their ancestors.

The cafe is her and Achour’s first food-related business venture, but they have accrued plenty of experience with in the retail and hospitality world with Dolce Vita, which has now been open for 20 years. The salon recently finished a renovation that added a second level, where the spa has been relocated.

“A guest is a guest. You want them to experience whatever service they’re having to the utmost capability,” Farran said.

As of the end of June, the couple had signed off on building permits for the cafe and were starting to work on construction bids, according to Farran.

With the design and furniture already prepared, the team hopes to be able to open Cafe Levantine by the end of this summer, though Farran acknowledged that construction “rarely” goes according to schedule.

The cafe will have seats inside for about 32 to 35 people, along with an outdoor patio that can seat another 20 to 25 people. It will share a wall with the salon, where patrons will be able to order food and drinks to eat while they get their hair styled.

A Great Falls resident and mother of four children, Farran hopes to create a place that feels like a true part of the McLean community, where adults and kids alike will feel comfortable spending time, whether they’re grabbing “a healthy bite to eat” while doing homework or gathering for a book club meeting.

“It’s almost an extension of our salon, because that’s what our salon is for a lot of people. That’s their home away from home,” she said. “…I love to see people. It brings me a lot of joy. It truly, truly does.”

Photo via Google Maps