Bon Appétit has named a Middle Eastern restaurant in Washington, D.C., one of the best new restaurants in the country.
"I don't think there's really an adequate description for how you feel when something like that happens." said co-owner and executive chef Chris Morgan. "Shock is the first thing that comes to mind."
After the shock subsided, the new award became an emotional moment for Morgan and Maydan staff.
"I can't really say I was the only person crying on 14th Street yesterday at 8 in the morning." said Morgan.
The restaurant near D.C.'s bustling 14th Street beat out eateries in cities all over the U.S. including Portland, Brooklyn, Denver and Los Angeles.
"It just feels really special that people understand and appreciate all the work and love that goes into this place." said sous chef Maggie Margolis.
Maydan's menu features fresh flatbread, spreads, sauces, dips, condiments, simply grilled meats and vegetables, served family style. The inspiration for the dishes span from Georgia to the Middle East and Northern Africa.
It is in the Manhattan Laundry complex, an old streetcar warehouse, and has a combination of exposed brick, wood and stone.
The restaurant’s kitchen does not have stoves or ovens. Instead, it is designed around a massive central fire with a copper-covered hearth where all of its dishes are cooked.
Maydan owner, Rose Previte, and Chris Morgan, the co-executive chef, stopped by News4 in January. They said diners can order a variety of dishes, sauces and condiments. They then mix and match the items using the restaurant’s signature bread as utensils.
“You can come in, order 10 things, come in the next day, order the exact same 10 things, but have a completely different meal based on how you personally mix and match,” Morgan told News4 in January.
Earlier this summer, Bon Appétit released a list of 50 nominees for its Top 10 list.
Two new D.C. spots made the list: The three restaurants housed in Adams Morgan’s Line Hotel were chosen, as was Mount Pleasant’s Elle, which serves pastries and breads for breakfast, as well as dishes and cocktails for dinner.
Previte said she first discovered the word that would become the name of her restaurant while she was in Ukraine.
Maydan is a word used by people across the Black Sea, down into North Africa and in the Middle East to describe the squares and gathering places dotting city centers.
“We chose it, because it’s a word used in many different countries and many different languages, but it means the same thing,” she told News4.
The Maydan owner also owns Compass Rose, which serves international street food a block away from the intersection of 14th and U streets NW.
Previte said the idea for Maydan first came out of a love for Middle Eastern food that she shares with co-executive chefs Morgan and Gerald Addison.
Once the idea was solidified, the three then set off on a five-country tour that included Georgia Lebanon and Turkey to discover new dishes, Previte said.
“People brought us into their homes and shared dishes with us, just like this," she said. "And we wanted to bring that to Washington."