BEIRUT: On a traditional Lebanese Sunday, next to the barbecue grill, the two best friends Mohammad Khalifeh and Ali Farage were preparing guacamole when they realized the multiple benefits and uses of avocado. Embracing the fruit’s uniqueness and counting on their 16 years of friendship, they decided to venture together after quitting their jobs and starting the first all-avocado bar in Lebanon.
“Though I worked in the medical field, and Ali in the banking sector, we shared the same passion for food. We looked up all-avocado bars and knew that they were first created in New York. We then decided to transport the concept for the first time to Lebanon,” Khalifeh told Annahar.
On September 3, 2018, the bar officially opened its doors for avocado lovers who had been teased by the place’s Instagram page prior to the opening day.
Spotting the restaurant from afar is easy; one only has to imagine a small garden of avocado trees. The outer seating of the place is surrounded by avocado trees that cradle baby avocados ready to be eaten fresh.
Designed by the owners themselves, the menu features eye-catchy sections like “toasts for the most,” “bowls for the souls,” and “bites for the mights.”
Their specialty “Avo beetroot” is made up of beetroot-hummus, topped with mesclun, avocado, radish, roasted pine nuts, pomegranate seeds, and sprinkled with sumac and extra virgin oil.
But that’s not all-to satisfy customers’ sweet tooth, the place offers “drinks for the winks” like “avo chocolate milkshake” and smoothies, and “desserts for flirts,” like the “avo lime cheesecake” and “avo ice cream cone,”
To sum up, they added an avocado twist to many international meals and created new avocado-based dishes.
However, they made sure that most of their avocado supply is Lebanese to encourage its cultivation boom in their homeland.
“Though we were inspired by the concept from other countries, we wanted to make sure that the menu had a Lebanese twist. So, we favored the Lebanese avocado and added hummus, sumac and other Mediterranean ingredients to our dishes,” Farage told Annahar.
When it comes to picking their staff, the two owners look for people who embody teamwork as they consider the endeavor a family affair.
“We are the marketing managers, the chefs, and the waiters. Sometimes, I am even the delivery boy. There is no hierarchy. We’re a team,” said Khalifeh.
Apart from that, hygiene and cleanliness are also primary criteria for hiring their employees given that the food is served fresh.
As a result, some of the visitors, who come from all sorts of different backgrounds, have made it a habit to eat daily at L’Avo.
Celestine Eid, who visited the joint after stumbling across their Instagram age, said "it lived up to the hype on Instagram; the food was mouth-watering and I was so glad to know that they have vegan avocado ice cream!”
The two owners indicated that they take customers’ feedback and suggestions to heart and aim to implement changes and additions when necessary. They are also working on enclosing the outer seating and putting air conditioners and heaters inside.
“The bumpy green fruit has a lot of healthy vitamins and minerals, and it can add creamy nutritious flavor to just about any dish,” Farage told Annahar.
This photo shows the dish Avo goat.
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