Ivan Iricanin announced the opening of the 56-seat BABA in Arlington, Virginia. Scheduled to open late-January in the heart of Clarendon at 2901 Wilson Blvd, 22201, the newcomer is just below the popular new Ambar, with its own separate street entrance.
BABA translates to “grandmother” and this new gathering place will offer the warm, welcoming comfort of visiting grandma’s house married with a chic modern comfortable vibe. With craft cocktails and a lounge vibe during the evening hours, BABA will showcase Balkan cuisine that takes inspiration from European tapas. In the evening, guests will enjoy snack size fare sampling a wide variety of small plate offerings. For the morning coffee fix, BABA will open at 7 AM and promises to be a great neighborhood breakfast location transitioning into sandwiches and lunch fare at 11 a.m., served until 4 p.m. Weekends will find a disc jockey spinning tunes at the restaurant from 10 p.m. until close for a great place to hang with friends and sip libations by the working fireplace.
Iricanin partnered with his wife Nya Gill, a recent graduate of the Interior Architecture & Design MFA program at George Washington University, to design BABA. One will find reclaimed materials incorporated throughout the new space while the furnishings are being selected for guests’ comfort and with lingering in mind. Leather chairs are used throughout and one can bring the computer along to spend time working as each dining spot will have a USB power outlet for complimentary Wi-Fi. A raised seating area is highlighted by antique glass chandeliers above a large, curved banquette designed to resemble a custom sofa. The architecture makes use of salvaged materials on a number of surfaces including vintage pane glass windows on the wall and ceiling as well as a reclaimed, hardwood bar top. Exposed brick line the stairwell and accents the walls within the main dining room.
Iricanin tapped Esteban Ordonez as the mixology consultant for BABA. Ordonez is the principal mixologist and managing partner for International Cocktail Group, a North American based consulting firm that specializes in creating and managing cocktail/beverage programs and spirits driven events for the hospitality industry, as well as luxe private clients. He has quickly risen in the national and international mixology scene and is best known for helping open Albert Trummer’s famous cocktail mecca, Apothéke in New York City’s Chinatown and the now famous Amaru Pisco Bar in Queens as well as Theater Bar in Tribeca. Ordonez was also the winner of the National Brand Ambassador and Director of Mixology for Don Q Rum and Serrallés USA. In 2005, Esteban launched his own consulting business, creating and mixing cocktails for high profile clients and properties throughout the United States, South America, and the Caribbean. His unique libations have been featured in the New York Times, New York Post, Time Out New York, Rob Report, Market Watch, The Japion, Revista Vanidades, Cosmopolitan Magazine, and numerous other publications. Esteban’s cocktails are currently poured at Bleu Moon in Miami, and New York City’s Apothéke, Amaru Pisco Bar, Colors Lounge, Spitzer’s Corner, Yerba Buena Perry and Plein Sud, A Voce Restaurant and The Arthur, to name a few.
Esteban stepped out from behind the bar in 2001 to study at the world-famous Escuela Española de Cata and Circulo de Vino Matritense, both located in Madrid, Spain. This immersion in European culinary methods served to further hone his unique style, palate, and technique, which he brought back to New York City and shared at the famous Citarella Gourmet Market and Atlas restaurants. He further developed his skills by taking and successfully completing the renowned B.A.R course in New York City in 2011.