There’s a lot happening behind the scenes of D.C.’s hospitality industry. Here’s where Eater tracks significant changes to the front of the house, back of the house, and any other personnel vital to local restaurants, bars, or purveyors of food and drink.
GEORGETOWN— In December 2019, Georgetown’s long-running Cafe Bonaparte underwent a revamp with a new name – Lutèce by Bonaparte — and a new Parisian chef in Martin Senoville, who planned to cook classic French recipes with a 2020 twist. Just a few months later, a new chef from NYC is now cooking at Lutèce. Matt Conroy is taking over at the Wisconsin Avenue cafe, incoming from Greenpoint’s hip wood-fired Mexican restaurant Oxomoco. Conroy is snapping photos of new dishes like dry-aged duck with smoked endive and beet and roasted carrots with burrata, blood orange, and sunflower seeds on his Instagram.
Alexandria— Tom Cardarelli is out as chef at Old Town staple Vermilion, and Brabo’s Inti Villalobos-Coady is stepping into the role, reports Northern Virginia magazine. Cardarelli, a veteran of NYC’s Jean-Georges, brought freshly-baked sourdough bread and butter to Vermilion. New executive chef Villalobos-Coady is envisioning fried fingerling potatoes meant to taste like salt and vinegar potato chips and strawberry rhubarb pie.
November 19, 2019
DOWNTOWN—Marriott’s Mayflower hotel recently hired the first female executive chef in the nearly 100-year-old history of the venue. Lindsey VandenToorn, who has been with the company for 10 years, is now the executive chef in charge of lobby-level Edgar Kitchen & Bar, along with catering and in-room dining programs. Marc Rios, most recently bar and beverage manager at Marriott’s Camelback Inn Resort in Arizona, is the new creative director of mixology and spirits and managing partner. Madison Fredricks is the new general manager of Edgar Kitchen & Bar.
WEST END—Chef Pedro Baroso joins Ritz-Carlton’s Westend Bistro as executive sous chef. The Portugal native, who recently relocated to D.C., kicked off his career in 2005 at the Ritz-Carlton in Sintra, Portugal. His global cooking stints have also taken him to Istanbul; Abama, Spain; Dubai; and Miami. He replaces Westend chef Alvin Dela Cruz, who moved back to California this year to lead the kitchen at Jean-Georges Beverly Hills at the Waldorf Astoria. Baroso’s currently busy prepping for a Thanksgiving day meal, complete with butternut squash pumpkin soup, turkey, and all the trimmings ($95 per adult, $45 per child); a to-go version for eight is $340.
August 8, 2019
ADAMS MORGAN—The timing of pastry chef Stephanie Milne’s move to Mintwood Place dictated that one of the first tasks she’d undertake at the trusty neighborhood bistro would be to come up with new flavors of ice cream. After a couple years at Ashok Bajaj’s Nopa Kitchen + Bar (now Olivia), Milne helped open Dacha’s sprawling Navy Yard outpost in May. She made a move to Mintwood Place by June because she wanted to work at a smaller restaurant that offered her more flexibility to try out new things on regulars. Mintwood Place succumbed to the stunt of National Ice Cream month, rolling out a 11 ice cream desserts in July, so Milne developed flavors such as fernet, smoked bacon and vanilla, and caramel popcorn, as well as a bloody mary sorbet.
The most ambitious idea might have been to make an ice cream-based grilled cheese, an idea that arose after a friend told her about the popularity of cheese ice cream in the Philippines. Milne incorporated “regular old Kraft singles” into the base, producing a flavor she describes as related to cheesecake. She toasted bread in butter before sticking it in the freezer and assembling the sandwiches. That dessert is off the menu now, but Milne says she might bring it back. She’s rotating specials in and out of the bar menu to test her more creative projects. Next up: a s’mores sandwich made with house graham crackers, chocolate ganache, and marshmallow ice cream.
July 19, 2019
DUPONT CIRCLE—Six months after opening inside the reinvented Dupont Circle Hotel, the Pembroke restaurant already has a new executive chef. Harper McClure, most recently chef de cuisine at 14th Street NW’s perennially packed Le Diplomate, replaces chef Marlon Rambaran. GM Joel Freyberg says Rambaran, a Fontainebleau Miami Beach alum, started out in a consulting capacity and “made it clear when taking on the partnership that he would eventually be seeking other interests and opportunities.” The 127-seat restaurant — formerly Cafe Dupont — got early glowing reviews from Washington Post critic Tom Sietsema, who called out Rambaran’s gold leaf-adorned saffron risotto and a lamb tagine “that would taste at home in Morocco.” McClure’s hotel resume also includes time as an executive chef at Brothers and Sisters, the essential American-Asian restaurant at the Line, and at Brabo by Robert Wiedmaier at the Kimpton Lorien in Alexandria. McClure is expected to roll out a new menu this fall.
July 11, 2019
SOUTHWEST—Mandarin Oriental just named Claus Olsen its executive pastry chef. The Denmark native has clocked 20 years of experience working in Forbes Five-Star restaurants and cake shops around the globe. He most recently helmed dessert stations at a Shangri-La Bangkok hotel in Thailand, following stints at the Mandarin’s Malaysia, Bangkok, and Las Vegas properties. Olsen, who grew up watching his grandfather bake at his Copenhagen-based bakery, has cooked for kings, queens, presidents, and dignitaries around the world.
OLD TOWN—Peter Saletta was recently named Union Street Public House’s new executive chef. The barbecue pro’s revamped menu draws inspiration from Union Street’s historical life as a late-1700s warehouse. Think locally-sourced ingredients, fresh catches of the day, and smoked ribs. A new, “My Bar, My Rules” sandwich comes on an English muffin with pan-seared aged filet mignon, Swiss cheese, garlic butter, rosemary, roasted red pepper, and Tabasco aioli. Saletta, a Sarasota, Florida, native, honed his culinary chops as a chef at various locations of Fleming’s Steak House, where he was named as one of Food and Wine Magazine’s Best Chefs Under 30. He’s also an alum of Sullivan’s Steak House and D.C.’s Black Finn.
July 2, 2019
BRAMBLETON, VIRGINIA—Suburbia’s critically-acclaimed AhSo just plucked its new chef de cuisine from Dupont Circle’s Firefly. Rich Falbo was executive chef at the American restaurant tucked inside the Kimpton Hotel Madera for the past 18 months. He tells Eater he was attracted to AhSo’s farm-to-table focus, its close relationships with local suppliers, and chef Jason Maddens’ passion for wine. “It will be a refreshing change from the urban scene,” he says. AhSo’s frequently-changing menu currently includes boneless pork loin sourced from Warrenton, Virginia’s Whiffletree Farm and Virginia asparagus. Falbo, a 20-year restaurant vet, worked his way up at various Hyatt Regency resort properties before leading the kitchen at Austin’s seafood-centric Perla’s. He starts his latest gig alongside Maddens, a Central alum, next week. Eater reached out to Firefly’s Kimpton team regarding a replacement.
April 26, 2019
WASHINGTON, DC—Award-winning restaurateur Ashok Bajaj of Knightsbridge Restaurant Group just made a huge move by hiring chef Frank Ruta, reviving the James Beard Foundation Award winner’s cooking career after nearly a year out of the kitchen. The former White House chef, who’s cooked under three presidents, was most recently helming glitzy French power spot Mirabelle, which closed and reopened last summer with a new chef. Now he’s got a new job, but it’s unclear which kitchen he will call home (Bajaj’s prolific restaurant empire currently includes Bibiana, Oval Room, Bombay Club, Olivia, Bindaas, Rasika, and Sababa). Ruta could be a big part of reviving the space that housed Restaurant Nora — the eponymous restaurant from organic dining pioneer Nora Pouillon that shuttered last year after a 40-year run. Bajaj bought it last fall for $4 million and plans to turn into a new spot called Annabelle.
CAPITOL HILL—Tony power spot Charlie Palmer Steak has a new wine director and head sommelier. Phil Prifold replaces Brandon Anderson, who’s reportedly headed to New York City’s Michelin-starred Per Se. This is the third go-around for Prifold and chef Mike Ellis, who worked at the Watergate and opened Knightsbridge Restaurant Group’s Bardeo Wine Bar & Cafe together. Prifold, who was most recently consulting for luxury hotel brands, plans to continue to stock Charlie Palmer’s glass-enclosed vino vault with lesser-known producers while bulking up a tannic-driven red category that pairs best with steaks.
Cabernet Sauvignon is currently the No. 1 varietal by the glass and bottle inside the recently refurbished restaurant, reports Prifold, followed by popular Pinot Noir and Malbec pours (reds will be flowing even more than usual tonight at its fourth annual all-you-can-eat Beefsteak dinner). Its large by-the-glass program recently shrank under his watch to encourage keeping more fresh bottles on-site. Going with more Sonoma vs. Napa labels has allowed prices to drop bit, he says, which helps accommodate D.C. regulars with nonprofit and government incomes. Most whites by the glass are around $13, and reds are $13 to $15. “But if you want to spend a few thousand dollars we have a bottle for you,” he says, name-dropping a 1958 vintage of Napa Valley’s Beringer.
The steakhouse earned “best wine program of the year” in 2017 by the local restaurant association, thanks in large part to then-wine director Nadine Brown’s tireless pursuit of interesting pours. Brown and Prifold share a past: She worked for him while he was wine director at Penn Quarter’s now-closed Signatures.
RESTON, VIRGINIA—Red’s Table just named Nelson Erazo its new executive chef. He was most recently was working in the city, helming Melrose Georgetown Hotel’s Jardenea. At his new post in suburbia, a recently released lineup of spring dishes includes coriander-dusted diver scallops, Chesapeake Bay crab bisque, and roasted beet and goat cheese salad.
March 20, 2019
LOGAN CIRCLE—After joining Birch & Barley and Churchkey as executive chef late last year, Jarrad Silver introduced his first revamped menu last night at the Logan Circle brewpub run by local powerhouse Neighborhood Restaurant Group. Silver, who got his start in D.C. as a server and prep cook at Mike Isabella’s Graffiato, was chef de cuisine at Kapnos Taverna, Pepita and Yona before Isabella’s restaurant group dissolved in the wake of a sexual harassment allegations against the celebrity chef.
Like Hazel, an NRG restaurant that’s undergone a Turkish makeover, Birch & Barley has incorporated Middle Eastern flavors into its modern American menu. For example, Silver is serving house-made labneh on wild mushroom toast, throwing ras al hanout crumble in a roasted beet salad, pairing muhammara with whole cauliflower, and putting braised lamb shanks on top of Moroccan couscous. Silver’s travels to Israel inform the new menu along with flavors normally found in a delicatessen. Silver is baking challah rolls as a tribute to his grandmother’s bread. A foie gras toast comes on pumpernickel with pastrami spice and mustard seeds.
Birch & Barley dinner menu by on Scribd
March 11, 2019
GEORGETOWN—Gerard Cribbin is the new executive chef at High Street Café, the recently opened American brasserie with a Latin bent. The new post marks the reunion of Cribbin and managing partner Miguel Iguina, who opened Italian mainstay Filomena a few blocks away in the early 1980s. Cribbin later went on to cook in Puerto Rico and immerse himself in Spanish cuisine. The months-old restaurant also just introduced lunch under Cribbin’s watch, adding pigeon peas two ways with hummus and escabeche; pan roasted calamari with shitake mushrooms; and a crispy cod sandwich. All month, a $22 lunch deal includes an appetizer, an entrée, and a glass of house wine or dessert.
February 28, 2019
WEST END—There’s a new leader in the kitchen at Rasika’s West End outpost. Award-winning restaurateur Ashok Bajaj of Knightsbridge Restaurant Group just named Rakesh Singh head chef. Singh, who hails from the northeast region of India, was most recently executive chef at the 427-room Westin Hyderabad Mindspace in Telangana, India. He joined the resort in 2011 as chef de cuisine, climbing up to the top culinary post in 2016. Singh’s resume also includes cooking at Michelin-rated London restaurants Tamarind and Amaya. For his first stateside gig, Singh’s adding smoked eggplant golgappa with cilantro, tamarind and pomegranate; smoked duck with cashew nut, foie gras, and marmalade; and spinach dumplings with dill leaves and tomatoes to Rasika’s menu. The fine dining destination, which turns seven this year, will remain spearheaded by group executive chef Vikram Sunderam.
February 18, 2019
NORTH BETHESDA—Jonathan Collins, a sous chef at Hazel when former chef Rob Rubba was charming diners with foie gras zucchini bread and sticky, crunchy ribs, is now the executive chef of Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s outpost in North Bethesda. Collins took over the kitchen at Owen’s Ordinary at the Pike & Rose complex in August. He recently rolled out a winter menu that brings on a suckling pig garnished with pomegranate and za’atar, seared Virginia scallops with Brussels sprouts and bacon lardons, and a rotating burger of the week. Before NRG (Bluejacket, Birch & Barley) sent Collins to its Maryland tavern, he cooked at Plume, helped open Radiator, and worked in kitchens in New York. The Southern Maryland native got his start working under Kinship chef Eric Ziebold at now-closed CityZen.
Owen's Ordinary winter ... by on Scribd
February 1, 2019
BLAGDEN ALLEY—Oaxacan restaurant Espita Mezcaleria is ready to share its star chef with the Big Apple. Robert Aikens, who was hired in summer 2017 from the Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center, just announced plans to move back to New York City to help re-open Parisian bistro Pastis in the Meatpacking District with James Beard Award-winning restaurateur Stephen Starr:
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This pic was taken back in 2006 when Pastis #Pastis was in its heyday. One of the first restaurants to move into the meat packing district after Florent. Keith McNally #keithmcnally has a very good eye for locations almost visionary. The day it opened it was packed and fast became a NYC hit and everybody wanted to dine here. I am going to be helping with the re opening again of Pastis with @starrrestaurant @stephen.starr and am so very excited to be back again working with Starr and back in NYC.. #brasserie #french #frenchbrasserie #vivelafrance #classics
Aikens — whose brother-in-law is Espita owner Joshua Phillips — will stay on board as executive chef and partner, the team tells Eater. Aikens’ chef de cuisine, Ben Tenner, will be handling day-to-day work in the kitchen. Tenner, an EatWell DC alum and former executive chef at Matchbox, was promoted from sous chef in December after less than a year at Espita. The Mexican restaurant in Shaw just added a lunch menu with counter-style service.
NORTH BETHESDA—Lance Mion is the new executive chef at Canopy by Hilton at Pike & Rose. In addition to spearheading food and drink operations at its restaurant Canopy Central, he’s also heading up banquet services. Mion previously spent nearly two decades with Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide cooking at the Westin Georgetown Hotel, St. Regis Hotel, and Westin Grand Hotel. The Canopy hotel — the second in the region — just opened a synthetic ice-skating rink on its roof terrace with Irish coffee and seasonal snacks such as toasted peanut butter and banana sandwiches.
WASHINGTON, VIRGINIA—The Inn at Little Washington was elevated to the top Michelin rating of three stars for 2019, and now the picturesque prix-fixe destination has a new general manager behind the wheel. Chef/owner Patrick O’Connell just promoted longtime employee Robert Fasce to GM, effective last month. Fasce started his hospitality career at the Inn as executive sous chef in 1990 and held the post until 2001. From there he went on to manage prestigious private clubs across the U.S.
December 26, 2018
BLAGDEN ALLEY—Michelin-rated restaurant the Dabney and its subterranean sister bar the Dabney Cellar just named Brad Langdon bar manager. He replaces Sarah Ruiz, who’s moving back to San Francisco after more than two years in Washington. Ruiz led the bar program at Penn Quarter’s Dirty Habit before moving to the Dabney. Alex Zink remains beverage director, and Eater will have more information on what Langdon has in store for the Dabney’s drinking program in new year. He’s currently looking to bulk up his bar staff, taking to social media to ask for resumés and cover letters (email@example.com):
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We are excited to officially welcome @bradtender to the family as our new Bar Manager. Stop in and introduce yourselves - he'd love to stir a little something up for you. He's also looking to add to our team of talented bartenders, so if you are interested, please submit a resumé and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 14, 2018
ADAMS MORGAN—For the past six weeks, Mintwood Place in Adams Morgan has been operating with a new general manager and a new bar manager. Matthew Wilcox, a former bartender at the bistro under chef-owner Cedric Maupillier, returns after leaving the restaurant three years ago to head up the bar program at Le Diplomate in Logan Circle. Wilcox tells Eater he’s been working to bulk up the wine list with more French labels. He has also introduced a spiked mulled cider and a “partially bitter, partially Manhattan” twist on a Tipperary cocktail. Gene Alexeyev, a former sommelier who has written wine programs for Blue Duck Tavern and Rasika West End, has taken over as general manager. Alexeyev was recently an assistant general manager at RPM Italian and formerly served as general manager at Macon Bistro.
December 4, 2018
DOWNTOWN—Executive chef Jason Shelley, a 15-year veteran of the Ocean Prime empire, is leaving the 2-year-old Ocean Prime downtown in order to open the glitzy chain’s first Chicago location. Leo Harvey Jr., the executive sous chef in D.C., will fill Shelley’s shoes as executive chef starting Tuesday, January 1. The seafood/steakhouse brand owned by restaurateur Cameron Mitchell will have 16 locations from coast to coast when its Chicago addition debuts next spring atop the LondonHouse hotel.
DOWNTOWN—The Hay-Adams hotel has promoted former sous chef Jacopo Beni to chef de cuisine and named Elenor Apolonio-Frantz as pastry chef. Under executive chef Nicolas Legret, Beni will help craft American dishes at the hotel’s power dining spot, The Lafayette, as well as its subterranean Off the Record bar. Apolonio-Frantz is in charge of managing pastry operations for the hotel and specialty desserts for private events. Beni replaces Gene Sohn, and Apolonio-Frantz replaces Elizabeth Weinberg.
November 6, 2018
MULTIPLE LOCATIONS—Monica Lee was just promoted to beverage director at chef Katsuya Fukushima’s local ramen empire (Daikaya, Haikan, Bantam King, and soon-to-open Hatoba in Navy Yard). Lee’s bartending experience includes stints at Petworth Citizen and Dupont’s Sheppard, where she honed her cocktail craft under drinks pro David Strauss. Lee plays up Japanese sake, shochu, whisky, and beer in her new post at Daikaya Group. She’s keeping Daikaya’s longtime hit — the “Dai-Drop” — on the menu, comprised of a sake sphere, Sapporo, and ginger beer ($6 each/$30 for six). Here’s a peek into its current cocktail menu:
Daikaya Izakaya Cocktail Menu 2018 by Tierney Plumb on Scribd
October 24, 2018
DUPONT CIRCLE—Kimpton Hotel Palomar’s longtime Italian-inspired bar Urbana just hired Lauren Mathews as lead bartender. She was most recently stirring drinks at its sister property Kimpton Hotel Monaco in Pittsburgh, where she explored using clarified juices in cocktails. Ingredients from Urbana’s 1,000-square-foot rooftop garden make their way into her new eco-friendly elixirs like the “Hive Mind” (limoncello made from recycled lemon peels and aquafaba sourced from kitchen to cut down on waste). To delete plastic, she added gluten-free and vegan pasta straws into the mix.
October 22, 2018
Ottoman Taverna, the refined Turkish restaurant in Mount Vernon Triangle that recently drew a Bib Gourmand designation from Michelin, installed a new executive chef this month. Ercan Sahin was promoted to the role, marketing manager Felicia Ruffino confirms. According to a resume provided to Eater, Sahin, who is originally from Turkey, has been with Ottoman Taverna since March 2017 as a sous chef and manager in training exchange student. Before arriving in Washington, he worked in steakhouse and hotel kitchens in Dubai, Russia, Turkey, and Cyprus. Ibrahim Kelesabdioglu, a Turkish national who arrived at Ottoman Taverna in September, is now serving as sous chef, Ruffino says. The executive chef position was vacant because Ilhan Erkek left after leading the kitchen for more than two years. According to his LinkedIn profile, Erkek is now executive chef at the Antrim 1844 hotel in Taneytown, Maryland. “Chef Ilhan actually left because he doesn’t want to be limited to the Turkish cuisine,” Ruffino says. “We are traditionally a Turkish restaurant only.” A message left for Erkek at Antrim 1844 was not returned.
October 2, 2018
Red’s Table, a rustic Reston spot, has just overhauled its kitchen, bringing on John Conway as executive chef and Dave Weir as pastry chef; the pair have nearly 50 years in the restaurant industry between them. Conway hails from Ireland, and most recently manned the kitchen at The Old Brogue Irish Pub in Great Falls. Weir, also originally from Ireland, most recently served as bread baker and pastry chef at Bread Furst.
September 19, 2018
There’s a new beverage director at Captain Gregory’s in Alexandria with the promotion of Doug Anderson. He served as head bartender at B Side prior to joining the Captain Gregory’s team in February. Anderson will continue the speakeasy-style bar’s popular Tiki Thursday and Experimental Sunday programs, and he’s also putting out monthly rotating cocktail menus. Anderon’s September cocktail menu includes a drink called “Green, I Want You Green” with olive-oil washed gin, tequila, celery, lime, and hatch green chili, and the “Garden of Earthly Delight” with rum, Zucca Rabarbaro, cassis, orgeat, lime, and basil.
September 17, 2018
Le Kon has a newly named chef de cuisine, two weeks after Top Chef alum Katsuji Tanabe opened the Asian-Mexican fusion restaurant in Clarendon. Patrick Tanyag announced his departure via an Instagram post, citing “personal reasons” as the reason for his exit. He has been replaced by Walter Elias, who was formerly cooking at the Greek-focused Kapnos. Per a spokesperson, Tanyag is pursuing a different career path that popped up. “He was there to help open Le Kon, and then would leave to pursue this new position,” she tells Eater.
September 14, 2018
CAPITOL HILL—Barrel beverage director Parker Girard is leaving his post at the end of the month to move to Richmond, Va. with his family. Girard, a member of the Barrel team since the rustic whiskey den opened in April 2014, helped curate basement pop-up bars along the way (including the About Nothing Seinfeld bar and the current PoliTiki bar). Barrel bar manager Jacob Schoonover is being promoted to the position. Girard’s going away party is scheduled to coincide with PoliTiki’s closing luau on Saturday, September 29.
September 6, 2018
CHINATOWN—Drew Hairston, most recently leading bar programs at Le DeSales and Bar Pilar, is the new beverage manager at Dirty Habit inside the Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco. Debut drinks under his watch include Spa Date (Absolut Elyx, ylang ylang, bergamot, and yuzu) and the Florida Man, an involved elixir packed with rum, fresh lime, whole milk, homemade Tahitian vanilla cordial, falernum, and graham crackers.
DOWNTOWN—The Willard InterContinental just named Luca De Marchis and Gyo Santa executive chef and chef de cuisine, respectively. De Marchis will oversee all culinary operations at the hotel, including banquets, in-room dining, Round Robin Bar and the newly remodeled Café du Parc, while Santa will run day-to-day operations at the hotel’s French-inspired cafe. De Marchis, a native of Italy, spent the last 15 years working hotel kitchens at Ritz Carlton Pentagon City, Westin Washington Dulles, Lansdowne Resort, and Washington Plaza and plans to bring more Italian and Mediterranean culinary influences to the Willard.
August 30, 2018
FOGGY BOTTOM—Michael Santoro, who oversaw the Watergate Hotel’s stunning $125 million transformation in 2016, is moving on after more than three years as executive chef. The Blue Duck Tavern alum, who’s opened two hotels and six restaurants in six countries over his career, will remain on board through October 1. “We thank him for his service to the property and wish him well in the next chapter of his career,” according a statement from The Watergate. His TBA replacement will have a big job, managing a team of 90 employees, three restaurants — including the dramatic downstairs Kingbird — and overseeing 24-hour in-room dining and 30,000 square feet of banquet and catering space.
August 13, 2018
GEORGETOWN—After an extensive search, Sarah Rosner was named head bartender at Bourbon Steak — the first woman to helm the Four Seasons restaurant’s cocktail program in its 10-year history. The alum of bar programs at Marvin, Jack Rose Dining Saloon, and Kimpton’s Radiator is a fan of crafting cocktails with chartreuse and leafy greens, and she’s currently drafting the new lineup for the fall. Rosner, who was born and raised in Hawaii, runs a flower and herb garden behind her Dupont Circle building and also plans to integrate local ingredients sourced by Bourbon Steak chef (and known forager) Drew Adams. Rosner replaces Torrence Swain, who left in May to become the East Coast regional manager for mezcal maker El Silencio.
July 31, 2018
WEST END—Adam Howard is the new chef at Park Hyatt’s upscale Blue Duck Tavern. He left his four-year stint as corporate chef at Mike Isabella Concepts in February — right before the explosive Washington Post article came out accusing Isabella of sexual harassment. Before cooking with the scandal-laced chef, Howard worked under another Top Chef alum, Bryan Voltaggio, at Volt and now-defuct Range, as well as for José Andrés at Jaleo. Howard replaces Berlin native Daniel Hoefler, an alum of Chicago’s Park Hyatt restaurant NoMi Kitchen, who lasted less than a year. Troy Knapp remains at Blue Duck Tavern with a newly named title: director of operations (formerly executive chef).
DOWNTOWN—Walter Silva is the new chef de cuisine at chef Todd Gray’s Equinox. Silva also cooks nearby at Gray’s sister spot Manna inside the Museum of the Bible. He previously manned kitchens at Majestic Cafe, The Riggsby, and Charlie Palmer Steak. He replaces Colin McClimans.
July 18, 2018
UNION MARKET—Ben Pflaumer is now executive chef at Nicholas Stefanelli’s Michelin-starred Masseria. He hails from another Italian restaurant across town: Navy Yard’s Osteria Morini, where he helmed the kitchen for the past two years (Osteria has not named a replacement). Stefanelli hired Pflaumer to hold down the fort at his prix-fixe Masseria as the booming restaurateur balances time with opening two high-profile projects: tri-level food hall Officina on the Wharf and a huge Greek restaurant landing downtown.
July 11, 2018
14TH STREET CORRIDOR—R. L. Boyd is now executive chef at upscale taco maker Tico. Restaurateur Michael Schlow, who has spread new personnel around his growing family of local restaurants, has brought in Boyd to refresh his debut D.C. eatery. Boyd most recently cooked at Dupont’s Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe, and has also spent time in the kitchens at the original Circa, and now-defunct Bonfire.
June 7, 2018
SHAW—Sommelier Sarah Ruiz is ending her two-year stint helming Dirty Habit’s bar in Penn Quarter to run the drink program at the Michelin-starred Dabney. The bartender, who hails from San Francisco, will also lead the bar at its downstairs sister spot, Dabney Cellar. More to come on her menu. Alex Zink is still The Dabney’s beverage director.
June 4, 2018
UNION MARKET—It’s official: Smoked & Stacked founder Marjorie Meek-Bradley is executive chef of the updated St. Anselm James Beard Foundation Award-winning restaurateur Stephen Starr and Joe Carroll are opening this summer in D.C. Washingtonian has confirmed the rumor that the Top Chef alum and Ripple vet will oversee the kitchen at the neighborhood tavern currently taking shape across from Union Market.
May 31, 2018
ALEXANDRIA—Eric Reid, the local restaurateur who previously charmed area diners at Del Merei Grille and made gourmet pies for President Barack Obama at Del Ray Pizzeria, is leaving the homegrown restaurant to open a new Belgian eatery in Old Town Alexandria. Reid tells Eater he’ll cook his final meals at Del Ray Pizzeria and companion wine bar the Reserve on Monday, June 4. A pop-up version of his next venture, Augie’s (1106 King Street, Alexandria, Va.), is projected to appear this July.
May 17, 2018
EASTERN SHORE—Sean Wheaton is now head chef of both Bar Mumbo and Tickler’s Crab Shack & Restaurant at the Wylder Hotel Tilghman Island located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. A former member of the research team and special events crew at José Andrés’ Thinkfoodgroup, Wheaton is now focused on feeding area travelers dishes including littleneck clams steamed in white wine with tasso ham; fried oysters with remoulade; jumbo lump crab cakes; and crack-and-eat seasoned blue crabs.
GEORGETOWN—Charles Sutherland is now executive chef at chain Irish pub Ri Ra. The area newcomer spent some time cooking in New York and at Natty Greene’s Brewing Co. in Greensboro, N.C.; this is his first job in D.C. Sutherland’s most recent contributions to Ri Ra’s menu include bourbon-glazed short rib poutine, and a BLT featuring whiskey-bacon jam, bourbon-spiked mayo, and seared maple pork belly.
May 1, 2018
GEORGETOWN—Mollie Bird is now pastry chef at 1789. The critically acclaimed dessert maker and repeat RAMMY Award finalist, who had most recently been working at Kyirisan in Shaw, joins newly installed executive chef Tracy O’Grady at the historic Georgetown restaurant.
DOWNTOWN—Executive chef Javier Cuesta Muñoz has left Taberna del Alabardero. The Spanish native, who originally relocated to the area to cook at the St. Regis’ now-defunct Decanter before moving to the iconic Taberna, has returned to Europe to deal with family concerns. Two graduates of Taberna’s culinary school in Seville are currently running the kitchen at the long-standing D.C. restaurant.
April 27, 2018
DOWNTOWN—Shanelle Maura is the new manager at Quill inside the Jefferson and is currently crafting a new lineup of cocktails and bar bites for the summer. She’s no stranger to the hotel world, most recently opening Baltimore’s Sagamore Pendry last year and The Ivy before that.
April 26, 2018
OLD TOWN—Dadisi Olutosin, the Sequoia alum who had been working up upscale comfort foods for new restaurant Executive Diner, was fired after the first day of service at the neighborhood restaurant (1400 Duke Street), a spokeswoman told Eater. Olutosin blames creative differences for the split and is hoping to open a new restaurant later this year.
April 23, 2018
GLOVER PARK—Patrick Curran is now executive chef at Casolare. Washington City Paper reports that the Momofuku CCDC alum is already collaborating with pastry chef Alex Levin and executive chef of Italian concepts Matt Adler on hybrid Jewish-Roman fare at one of empire builder Michael Schlow’s D.C. properties.
April 17, 2018
DUPONT CIRCLE—Rich Falbo is now executive chef at Kimpton hotel restaurant Firefly. An alum of local restaurant group Passion Food Hospitality (Passionfish - Bethesda, District Commons) who most recently worked at wine-friendly Westin hotel restaurant Vinifera in Reston, Virginia, Falbo has already updated Firefly’s modern American menu with dishes including wild boar ribs bolstered by blue cheese and hot sauce, seared scallops finished with a bourbon-Mexican cola sauce, as well as squash accompanied by rice, watercress, almonds, and citrus.
15TH STREET NW—Jake Addeo is now executive chef at the historic Occidental Grill. The Bibiana alum has started putting this stamp on the the expense-account favorite by adding dishes including roasted bone marrow with brandied cherry compote, gnocchi featuring sheep’s milk ricotta, taleggio fondue, and Parmesan crisps, as well as rockfish with green beans, figs, and sweet onion consomme.
March 29, 2018
GEORGETOWN—Tracy O’Grady is now executive chef at historic dining destination 1789. The seasoned chef (Kinkead’s) and restaurateur (Willow) who most recently spent a few months cooking at Logan Circle’s the Bird, has already worked some new additions into 1789’s menu. Check out her seared scallops, as well as a mushroom-filled grilled cheese served at the new Bar & Club Room.
March 27, 2018
FALLS CHURCH—Nicholas Pine is now pastry chef at critically acclaimed modern American restaurant 2941. An alum of recently shuttered Co Co. Sala in D.C. as well as Joël Robuchon and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Las Vegas, Pine is planning to introduce new items this April including an ornate offering combining white chocolate ice cream and dark chocolate cream, as well as a vegan and gluten-free dessert made with coconut sorbet and lychee.
FOGGY BOTTOM—Matt Shourds is now executive chef at the Kennedy Center. An alum of Clyde’s Restaurant Group, Shourds is working on incorporating more local seafood into the menu — ”Shrimp from the Carolina coast and day boat scallops,” a spokeswoman tells Eater of his sourcing plans — and has been tasked with developing special food and drink offerings to serve while the award-winning musical Hamilton is town.
March 14, 2018
PENN QUARTER—Joshua Hermias is done cooking at double Michelin-starred Minibar. The most recent head chef at José Andrés’ fantasy dining restaurant announced via social media that he was moving on from the renowned kitchen. In a statement provided to Eater, parent company Thinkfoodgroup thanked Hermias for his contributions to the award-winning restaurant and said that R&D creative director Ruben Garcia “will continue to oversee the restaurant while a new head chef is identified.”
DUPONT CIRCLE—Domenico Apollaro is the new — and very first — head chef at neighborhood standby La Tomate. The Lupo Verde alum is already at work paring down the mani menu, changing up dining options at the embedded cafe, and kicking around new late-night bar snacks.
March 9, 2018
MULTIPLE LOCATIONS—William Washington is now director of operations for the growing family of establishments restaurateur Michael Schlow keeps sprinkling across the District. An alum of the Michelin-starred Inn at Little Washington and critically acclaimed Le Diplomate, Washington “will definitely be on the floor and available to guests during service at the various restaurants” a spokeswoman for Schlow tells Eater of the plan to have him float around the city.
CITYCENTER — Tae Strain is now executive chef at Momofuku CCDC. An alum of the Progress in San Francisco and now-defunct Public in New York, Strain has been tasked with redoing the entire menu at celebrity chef David Chang’s lone D.C. outpost. The biggest change: getting rid of ramen.
March 5, 2018
14TH STREET CORRIDOR—Johanna Hellrigl is now executive chef at Southeast Asian restaurant Doi Moi. Hellrigl, an alum of Via Umbria and Boulangerie Christophe who has also hosted self-styled pop-up dinners around town, replaces departing chef Sasha Felikson; he recently signed on to help expansion-minded Dacha Beer Garden refine its menu. According to parent company Fat Baby, Inc., Hellrigl has been tasked with expanding Doi Moi’s offerings to include flavors from Cambodia, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka, and is expected to add brunch service “in the near future.”
March 1, 2018
GEORGETOWN—Andrew Court is now executive chef of the Four Seasons hotel in D.C., a job that includes overseeing embedded eateries Bourbon Steak and Seasons, as well as adjoining wine bar Eno. Previous posts in Europe, the Caribbean, Canada, and most recently Southern California have influenced Court’s palate in ways reflected by the addition of an Asian stir-fry station during Seasons’ brunch service, and British breakfast plate — Court hails from Birmingham, England — featuring eggs, baked beans, sausage, Canadian bacon, mushrooms, and grilled tomato.
February 21, 2018
MCLEAN—Juan Rivera is now executive chef at nascent food hall Isabella Eatery. A longtime member of the Mike Isabella Concepts family of restaurants who most recently served as chef de cuisine during the opening of the Kapnos Taverna in College Park, Maryland, Rivera replaces Isabella Eatery opening culinary director Joe Palma whom MIC aides tell Eater “has left to pursue other opportunities.”
SHAW—Mark Slater is now operations manager at Corduroy. The James Beard Foundation Award-winning sommelier, who has worked at local restaurants including Citronelle, Ray’s the Steaks, Bastille, and most recently Pennsylvania 6, tells Eater he is excited about developing wine dinners at chef Tom Power’s critically acclaimed flagship restaurant. “Corduroy has more mature red Burgundy than any restaurant I’ve ever seen,” Slater says.
February 15, 2018
SHAW—Matt Whitehair is now sous chef at critically acclaimed Kyirisan. An alum of tony Georgetown dining destination 1789, Whitehair replaces Shelby McCrone, an area native who worked with Ma at now-shuttered Water & Wall in Arlington, Virginia, and served as executive sous chef in Shaw until her departure in January.
U STREET—Eóin Connors is now president of homegrown liquor producer and neighborhood restaurant District Distilling Co. The Irish native most recently served as vice president of Opici Wines.
February 8, 2018
LEDROIT PARK—Jake Kenny is now co-head bartender at all-day eatery Royal. An alum of award-winning Shaw bar the Columbia Room, Kenny joins existing Royal bartender Alonzo Freeman in mixing cocktails at the neighborhood watering hole. Their first challenge: co-hosting a Carnival-themed drinking fest on Monday, February 12.
February 5, 2018
ARLINGTON—Evan Snyder is now the executive chef at New Zealand-themed eatery, Cassatt’s Cafe. An alum of high profile establishments including Marcel’s and Volt in Frederick, Maryland, Snyder recently unveiled a new menu featuring poppyseed spoonbread with caviar; basil cavatelli with lamb ragu; octopus shawarma with burnt eggplant, and more.
February 1, 2018
CHEVY CHASE—Handry Tjan, half of the sibling team behind Japanese standby Sushiko and exclusive tasting counter Kobo, is leaving the twin restaurant ventures. “I want to thank everyone who has been there for me both at Sushiko and Kobo over the past 5 years … It was a huge learning experience and now I am going to learn more and grow more on my next adventure,” the co-executive chef announced via social media according to a screenshot captured by Washingtonian.
January 24, 2018
ADAMS MORGAN—Ezra Rosenberg is now juggling wine duties at sibling establishments Roofers Union and Jug & Table. An alum of beer-friendly D.C. chains including Pizzeria Paradiso and Glen’s Garden Market, Rosenberg has first-hand experience producing organic wine (France), local beer (3 Stars Brewing Company), and hard cider (Potter’s Craft Cider).
January 19, 2018
DUPONT CIRCLE—Ed Scarpone, who most recently served as executive chef at Fiola and led the kitchen at Dbgb before that, is now playing fixer for Schlow Restaurant Group. His first assignment: freshening up the Riggsby, where he’ll presumably pick up wherever short-timer Jay Caputo left off.
January 18, 2018
PENN QUARTER—John Melfi, who left Knightsbridge Restaurant Group’s tony Oval Room at the end of last year, is now executive chef at Michelin-starred Italian restaurant Fiola. An alum of award-winning kitchens including Blue Duck Tavern, now-defunct Vidalia, and Fiola’s seafood-centric sibling, Fiola Mare, Melfi replaces Ed Scarpone, who left restaurateur Fabio Trabocchi’s flagship restaurant in late December.
January 16, 2018
14TH STREET CORRIDOR—Honduran native Juan Rivera is now executive chef at the Barcelona Wine Bar on 14th Street NW, moving over from its sibling establishment in Reston, Virginia. Rivera replaces short-lived NYC chef Alex Ureña, who billed restaurateur David Bouley as his mentor.
CAPITOL HILL—The newly renovated Charlie Palmer Steak has a new wine director: Brandon Anderson. The Fiola Mare alum replaces Rammy Award-winning wine director Nadine Brown, who resigned from the power dining spot last fall.
January 12, 2018
14TH STREET CORRIDOR—North Carolina native Joel Hatton is now executive chef at Cafe Saint-Ex. An alum of Shaw’s Tavern, Leopold’s Kafe, and recently shuttered Shaw bar 1905, Hatton is introducing new menu items including a Buffalo-style cauliflower sandwich with pickled celery and crumbled blue cheese, as well as a dinner plate featuring pastrami-spiced pork belly with grits. Weekend brunch is also being extended to Friday.
January 9, 2018
DOWNTOWN—Area newcomer Sébastien Giannini is now executive chef of the restaurant still in development at the St. Regis hotel. An alum of the W hotel in Montreal, Giannini has been tasked with producing Mediterranean fare at the eatery expected to replace the St. Regis Restaurant — a placeholder that sprung up inside unceremoniously discarded Decanter. Decanter chef Javier Cuesta Muñoz left the St. Regis to join Taberna del Alabardero during management’s retooling of the in-house dining options.
PENN QUARTER—Schlow Restaurant Group alum George Rodrigues is taking the executive chef slot at wine-friendly Proof next month. Washington City Paper reports that Rodrigues, who last fall began overseeing pop-ups expected to cycle through the space formerly occupied by experimental kitchen Conosci, is replacing outgoing chef, Austin Fausett.
January 3, 2018
DOWNTOWN—Italian native Loris Navone is now executive chef at nearly decade-old power dining spot, Bibiana. An alum of professional kitchens ranging from Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe to Bice chains around the world (Singapore, Monte Carlo), Navone arrives at Rammy Award-winning restaurateur Ashok Bajaj’s swanky Italian spot just as its getting a total refresh. The fully updated restaurant is projected to debut in a few days.
DOWNTOWN—Bryan Moscatello is now executive chef at the Oval Room. The seasoned chef, who returned to the District last spring to command the kitchen at sibling establishment 701, replaces former head chef John Melfi. Melfi arrived at Oval Room in early 2015, made his first appearance at the James Beard House this past spring, and closed out his contract on December 31.