Don't hold your breath waiting for an Italian restaurant to replace the loss of Coppa Ristorante Italiano and Polovina Italian Cafe on Washington Avenue. It's not happening — at least not any time soon. There may be fusion-style tacos in the future but if it's Lebanese food you crave, there's good news in store. Washington Avenue — which is home to the month-old Beirut Lebanese Fine Cuisine — will welcome another Lebanese restaurant soon.
Mary'z Lebanese Cuisine is expanding to Washington Avenue, according to the following message on Twitter:
The Lebanese restaurant will replace Polovina Italian Cafe at 4500 Washington Avenue, Suite 200 in early January, a few doors down from forthcoming pizzeria Fire Station #11. Mary'z Lebanese Cuisine's Galleria location at 5825 Richmond Avenue will remain open. A representative for the restaurant explained their decision through an email statement, "The reason that we are going to open there [is] to target the Heights, Midtown, Memorial and Washington crowd. The location is great and it has a large patio on Washington Ave."
The dwindling crowd along that stretch of Washington is why Polovina, Avenue nightclub, The Chopping Block Gourmet Burger, Blue Moose Lodge and others closed their doors this year. Maybe Mary'z will bring something different that won't allow it to face the same fate. After all, Cafe Luxor — the Mediterranean and hookah bar on the corner of Washington Ave and Yale that replaced The Social and Swaye Bar — has managed to stay open longer than anyone expected. Recently Beirut Lebanese Fine Cuisine has received great reviews on Yelp and from CultureMap. Perhaps the secret to making it on Washington Ave is to open a Mediterranean restaurant, but only time will tell.
What's interesting to note is former Polovina owner, Mohammed Al-Ahmed, has a stake in nearby Beirut Lebanese Fine Cuisine. Will two Lebanese restaurants in close proximity be able to co-exist or will it be Mediterranean overload for residents of Rice-Military?