Recently retooled Levantine restaurant Ala is close to opening a neighborhood coffee shop inside its Dupont Circle space, according to a representative. Starting, Monday, September 13, a dedicated portion of the first floor at 1320 19th Street NW will sell pastries, teas, and coffees highlighting traditional ingredients from Turkey and neighboring Eastern Mediterranean countries.
The cafe component, dubbed Ala Coffee and More, will run weekdays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on weekends starting at 10 a.m. For its opening day, extended hours will span from 8 a.m. until the restaurant closes. To celebrate its opening month, customers can grab a free drip coffee through the end of September.
Caffeinated concoctions designed to attract a rebounding daytime crowd in the neighborhood include drip coffee, espresso, Turkish coffee, and pour-overs with additions like cardamom, lavender, and rosehip. Tea can also be flavored with Levantine ingredients like orange blossom and elderflower.
Croissants will come filled with labneh and dusted with za’atar or stuffed with halva (sesame candy) and topped with caraway. There will also be a tahini maple walnut scone. Customers can also look for lunchtime grab-and-go staples like dips, spreads, and smoked mackerel sandwiches.
Homemade sodas include sumac and pomegranate hibiscus lemonades. A pantry section will sell spices, Turkish coffee and tea, cheese, and olives. Wine, beer and cocktail pouches will also be available for purchase.
Ala, which opened in March under the ownership group that ran Turkish go-to Ankara in the same space, offers a range of regional hot and cold meze specialties, grilled dishes, raki cocktails, rare Palestinian wines, and a $39 weekend brunch deal. The name stems from a Turkish saying that translates to a mix of all the colors.
Both the Levantine rebrand for Ala and the debut of an attached daytime cafe appear to take after the success of Albi and Yellow, chef Michael Rafidi’s hit fine dining spot and more casual, all-day place in Navy Yard.