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A Former Porsche Exec Is Opening a Posh, 2-Story Lebanese Restaurant in Midtown

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Expect lots of vegan options and big, shareable plates at Yara, opening next week

Yara Yara [Official Photo]

A former Porsche exec has ditched the luxury car brand to open a swanky Lebanese restaurant in Midtown.

Jacob Harb, once a VP at Porsche, is delving into New York’s restaurant industry with Yara, a two-story, 200-seat restaurant and cocktail lounge serving vegan and Lebanese fare. Harb says it’s a family project with his uncle Paul Hobeika, in which the duo pull inspiration from their Lebanese upbringing.

Yara is taking over the space at 319 East 53rd St., between First and Second Avenues, which used to be home to another Lebanese restaurant called Al Bustan.

The new venue kicks open next week with a menu that ranges from salads like tabouli to shareable plates like grilled chicken breast skewers and lamb with sautéed okra, rice, and tomatoes. A good portion of the menu is vegan — a move to accommodate “large groups with varying dietary preferences,” a spokesperson says. The chef behind it all is Refeat Husseini, who previously worked at Al Bustan. See the menu in full below.

Prices range from $10 for hummus and other small plates to $35 for grilled fish. As for drinks, wine and cocktails will be the highlight, with options like the “Candella,” a Manhattan-inspired drink made with bourbon, vermouth, and arak.

Harb is bringing some of Porsche’s luxury flair with him to Yara, which will have three fireplaces, a private dining area, a lounge, and a coffee bar. The restaurant is trying to attract a fashion-forward crowd by hosting launch parties for swimsuit brands as well as future Fashion Week events, a spokesperson says.

Yara kicks open January 24 and will be open daily from 5 p.m. to midnight.


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