Uptown Shaya Restaurant to Expand with TAVI ‘Little Brother’ Restaurant in Covington | Where NOLA eats


A restaurant taking shape in downtown Covington will soon serve pitas piping hot in a wood-fired oven, elaborately finished hummus plates and dishes inspired by the same modern Israeli inspiration that made the restaurant famous of New Orleans. Shayah.

The new restaurant is called TAVI, and it is the next of BRG Hospitality (formerly Besh Restaurant Group), the New Orleans company that runs Shaya and many others.

TAVI is currently under development at 330 N. New Hampshire St. in Covington, across from the Southern Hotel. Its opening is scheduled for November.

Lamb stew hummus with pine nuts and peas, one of five hummus options at Shaya, a modern Israeli restaurant on Magazine St. (Attorney File Photo by JT BLATTY)

BRG partner Octavio Mantilla said TAVI was designed as “a little brother” to Shaya. It starts with much the same source material, with an array of small plates, hummus, sandwiches, and slow roasted meats. It will also add its own style.

TAVI’s executive chef will be Fariz Choumali, who runs Shaya’s kitchen. The chef was born in Lebanon and cooked in Beirut earlier in his career. These roots will be particularly central to its menus and specials as TAVI launches.

“We thought it was a really good fit for the North Shore,” Mantilla said of the concept.

tavi floor

The floor plan for the future TAVI restaurant in downtown Covington. (Picture added)

The new restaurant will be similar in size to Shaya’s ground floor, with a dedicated bar and a wood-fired dome oven open to the dining area. Shaya is an overall larger restaurant, with upstairs banquet rooms and a patio.

This is the first North Shore restaurant for BGR since the company sold La Provence, the historic Lacombe restaurant it ran for a decade. La Provence closed in 2018 under different owners.

Shaya was first opened in 2015 with chef Alon Shaya as his partner. It won the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in 2016.

This initial partnership ended in a high-profile split in 2018. BGR Hospitality retained the Shaya restaurant name, while Alon Shaya opened his own restaurant. Saba about a mile to Magazine Street. The two are unaffiliated.

tavi logo

The logo for the future TAVI restaurant in downtown Covington. (Picture added)

Although TAVI and Shaya are closely related, Mantilla said the company chose a different name for the new restaurant to differentiate it.

“Shaya is its own thing, it’s a James Beard award-winning restaurant, there really is only one,” he said.

tavi oven

The domed wood burning oven in place at TAVI’s future home in downtown Covington. (Image provided by BRG Hospitality)

The name of the new restaurant is a tribute to Mantilla’s grandson who is called Tavi, from the Hebrew word meaning good. TAVI, Mantilla noted, is also a derivation of his own name Octavio.

The last new restaurant opened by BGR was a third Pizza Domenica location, this time in Lakeview. Mantilla noted that more Pizza Domenica restaurants are in the works, including a potential location on the North Shore.


330 N. New Hampshire St.

Opening scheduled for November 2022

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