Highlands Cafe pork tacos: photo via Facebook

Highlands Cafe pork tacos: photo via Facebook

Highlands Cafe regulars may have noticed that although their beloved neighborhood haunt has new ownership, the same employees are serving up the same casual family fare. Today I spoke with the new owner, Peter Touris, who says that even though it’s been business as usual lately, “exciting changes are in store.” 

Touris, who lives with his wife and daughter in the L Streets, has been in the restaurant business for years. When Touris discovered that Highlands Cafe was for sale, he swooped on the opportunity to own the restaurant.  

His main motivation in purchasing the restaurant was to expand on what he believes that the neighborhood is missing.

“Lake Highlands has grown so much in the past few years. There are so many young families moving into Lake Highlands, and many parents are used to going out for brunch and having mimosas on the weekend. I usually end up taking my own family to other neighborhoods to have that brunch experience. I thought, why should we have to leave Lake Highlands to do that? There’s no reason not to stay in Lake Highlands,” Touris says. 

He adds that changes at the restaurant will be gradual, and will be progressive over the next few months.

“We don’t want to scare the regulars away. We want to take time to train the employees well,” Touris says.

So what exactly will the new Highlands Cafe look like?  For starters, it will be renamed Neighbor’s Casual Kitchen. Tauris says to expect a new menu featuring “homestyle food, with a twist.” There are also plans to expand the patio, open for business Sunday, and even feature a brunch menu dubbed “Weekend Boozy Brunch.”

One of the bigger changes will be the shift from ordering at the counter to a full service restaurant, where customers order at the table.

Touris says that essentially the restaurant will gradually undergo “a complete relaunch.”