The brand new Amazon office tower known as the Doppler Campus has another high-profile restaurant occupant. Mamnoon owners Wassef and Racha Haroun are opening two sibling establishments here, at 2040 Sixth Ave.
The first, Anar, shares Mamnoon's Middle Eastern roots, though it's a marked departure from the Harouns' superb restaurant on Capitol Hill; it should be open to the public in just a few short weeks, by about January 14.
While you could describe Anar as a juice bar, owner Wassef Haroun says its roots lie more with longstanding culinary traditions than any current health craze.
“In Beirut, Damascus, and Tehran you’ll find lots and lots of little stands everywhere heaped up with fresh fruits and vegetables, basically juicing on demand whatever happens to be in season,” says Haroun. “People drink these juices because they’re delicious; nobody at the time was thinking of the antioxidant ratios in them.”
Anar will pour five house juices, each distinct in color and flavor, and blended with ingredients like rose water or orange blossoms (these blends are faster than juicing on demand, says Haroun, and make consistency and quality control easier). Yes, one will be green. Another will be pomegranate forward; anar means pomegranate in Farsi. The shop will also make both savory and sweet yogurt drinks; the Harouns have a “very distinguished local yogurt partner” for these, though they can’t yet divulge.
While the food is similarly virtuous—vegetarian, free of gluten, no processed sugars, no dairy besides the yogurt—the Harouns say the health aspects come second to flavor in Middle Eastern dishes like mujadara, a dish of rice and lentils with crispy onions. The food menu will include both smaller mezze plates and meal-size dishes, plus a few pastries made with honey and nuts (and developed by the talented Carrie Mashaney). The lineup of plates, salads, and sweets won’t be huge, but is designed to carry nearby office workers from breakfast through lunch and various morning and afternoon snack breaks. Mamnoon's gluten-free crackers, so good they have their own fan base, will be here as well.
“They’re not compromises,” says Wassef of Anar's slate of healthy dishes. “They’re all things that you would really want to have.” His wife Racha developed much of the food and drink with two culinary-minded friends, Alexa Dallas and Julian Hagood, though in recent months chef Jason Stratton joined in to fine-tune and develop a few additional recipes (Mamnoon's original chef Garrett Melkonian left the company in October).
These past months were busy ones for Stratton and the Harouns. A few weeks after Anar debuts, they will open Mamnoon Street next door. More details to come, but this spot's focus on Lebanese street foods should look familiar to diners who have partaken in Mamnoon's lunch menu up on Capitol Hill.
And let's not forget the mBar project, still wending its way through design and planning stages at the 400 Fairview building. The two restaurants in the Doppler building have been in the works far longer, says Wassef Haroun.
The Harouns are in good company in this new Amazon tower development in the Denny Triangle; the building also has a brand new Marination outpost and Potbelly sandwich shop, and Josh Henderson's burger joint and taco bar are due later this year.
The Harouns hope to have Anar open, at least softly, by about January 14. Keep an eye on the fledgling website for more details.