Mediterranean restaurant Agora added more space this month in Dupont Circle, expanding into the neighboring building formerly occupied by Italian eatery Pasha’s Kitchen.
The flagship Agora at 1527 17th Street NW started looking into expanding this spring to assume control of the next-door restaurant, which adds 20 extra seats and a weekend late-night menu to the restaurant that serves freshly baked pita along with Turkish, Lebanese, and Greek plates.
A months-long renovation included adding brick walls to match its original space along with grey and white tiling near the bar. Large, glass-shaped evil eye talismans are en route from Turkey to serve as wall art.
In late November, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board approved Agora’s request for a stipulated liquor license. The busy brand is also putting the finishing touches on a second location that will land in Tysons Corner near Founding Farmers in February (7911 Westpark Drive).
Inside its new addition on 17th Street NW, Agora now offers a menu on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. that has $7 Manhattans, wine, and rail drinks, as well as spreads, hot mezze, and flatbreads ($5-$8). Pillowy pitas served at dinner are converted into crispy pita chips for dipping.
Star spreads include htipiti (roasted red peppers, feta, thyme, olive oil) and labneh (strained yogurt, garlic confit, zaatar). The imported yogurt from Lebanon is also featured in a chilled fruit-and-honey topped dessert.
“Price points are pretty solid for late night,” says Agora general manager Peter Elias, who relocated from New York City to D.C. in the past year to help open the Tysons location. He has extensive experience orchestrating a late-night scene from running B.L.O., a lounge that’s popular with celebrities, and pop-ups throughout Manhattan.
Agora’s late menu (below) will also be imported to its new 130-seat location in Tysons Corner, which has started to see more nightlife action thanks to spots like Greenhouse lounge.
Elias, who’s Lebanese, personally likes to dunk grilled cheese into a brunch dish called cilbir: two farm fresh poached eggs topped with yogurt, sumac, oregano, and spicy oil.
Dinner is Agora’s “identity,” says Elias, and featured menu items during regular hours include ground lamb and beef flatbreads, roasted beets salad, and eggplant dishes. There’s also lots of imported wine, local and Mediterranean beers, and cocktails.
Agora debuted in May 2010 under executive chef Ghassan Jarouj, a Lebanese native specializing in small plates.