D.C. restauranteur to open Persian-Mediterranean Divan in McLean

A new restaurant featuring the tastes of Persia plans to open soon in McLean.

Divan is currently expected to open in early December. The menu will feature stews with eggplant or herbs, pastas, and kabobs, chef Vicente Torres told Tysons Reporter yesterday (Monday).

“It’s pretty close to opening,” said Torres, who has worked throughout the D.C. region, including at a now-closed Kowkabi establishment, Catch 15.

Divan (1313 Old Chain Bridge Road) is tucked away on the side of a retail complex next to an upcoming Lidl.

The Italian restaurant Pulcinella is relocating nearby. While the website says a mid-November opening is expected, the venue appeared to still be undergoing major renovations when Tysons Reporter passed by yesterday.

In contrast, wine glasses, napkins and silverware adorn tables at Divan.

“Divan Restaurant is a labor of love many years in thought,” its website says. “The multi-cultural diversity of the McLean, Tysons and DC area makes Divan’s location the best place to try this new concept.”

The website for Divan notes that owner Gholam “Tony” Kowkabi, a longtime resident of the Wolf Trap area, has ties to the restaurant industry in D.C., namely Ristorante Piccolo in Georgetown.

Kowkabi was sentenced for mail fraud and failure to collect or pay tax in 2006 regarding several restaurants he owned in D.C., including Ristorante Piccolo, Alamo Grill, and Sole restaurant in Georgetown; Tuscana West near the White House; and Home nightclub in the Penn Quarter neighborhood.

According to court documents, he underpaid sales tax, falsely stated in monthly forms the sales tax he collected from patrons, and was ordered to pay $1.77 million in restitution.

Kowkabi didn’t respond to messages seeking comment.

Torres said Divan has hired around eight employees so far, but they’re still looking for line cooks and kitchen staff.

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