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Shawafel will open third location in Courthouse

Shawafel's H St location

Come fall, the latest branch of the popular Lebanese restaurant Shawafel will take root in the ground-floor level of 1919 Wilson Boulevard in Arlington.
The occupants of the 204-unit condo building under construction in the Courthouse neighborhood there now will have a direct line to Alberto Sissi’s shawarma platters, replete with housemade hummus and morsels of chicken or beef cooked on a vertical spit.
“It’s going to be larger than H Street,” says Sissi, the owner of Shawafel, though he did not have the exact square footage in mind when asked. “We’ll have two different counter stations,” one selling sweets.
What’s more, the third Shawafel – there is also one at Nationals Park – will reflect in its updated menu the newer, more healthful direction in which Sissi is trying to take his business.
“We want to offer more healthy items,” possibly including salads, Sissi says. “We’re playing around” with possible recipes now. He also seeks to increase his use of local produce and other foods in his food preparation. For example, “we’re sourcing fruit from an Amish farm in Pennsylvania now,” he says. “Eating locally and seasonally is how it’s done in Lebanon, and I want to do more of that here, too.”
Confirmed for this autumn will be a sort of Lebanese fruit cocktail: partly a drink, partly a dessert. “It’s more than a smoothie,” he says. “It’s more like a custard.” The parfait-like treat will likely be offered in blueberry, raspberry, pineapple and mango flavors, and will feature a layer of thick cream on top, called “ashta.”
“It’s a common recipe in Lebanon,” he says. “I’m Americanizing it some by adding Greek yogurt on the bottom.”
For the Courthouse location, Sissi is also planning a fresh juice station with a juicing machine to be used by patrons. “It slices the orange” – or other fruit – “in half, then squeezes it for you.” He adds that he might add another juicer to H Street, which was Shawafel’s first location.
All the menu additions will likely be finalized by August, he says. “Nothing is set in stone now.”

Read more articles by Amy Rogers Nazarov.

Amy Rogers Nazarov is a Washington, D.C.-based journalist with more than 25 years experience as a staff reporter and a freelance writer, covering technology, adoption, real estate, and lifestyle topics from food & drink to home organizing. Her byline has appeared in Cooking Light, The Washington Post, Slate, Washingtonian, The Writer, Smithsonian, The Washington Post Express, The Baltimore Examiner, The Sacramento Bee, Cure, The Washington Times, Museum, and many other outlets. She is a member of the American Society of Journalists & Authors and tweets at @WordKitchenDC.
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