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Dining Pros Mourn the Saddest Closures of 2017

Gone but not forgotten

Dessert at now-defunct Villa Mozart.
Photo by Flora L. / Yelp

As per tradition, Eater asked a group of restaurant critics, journalists, bloggers, and friends of the site to weigh in on the year in food. Here they reflect on the establishments that exited the local dining scene.

Lori Gardner, Been There, Eaten That:Nido, Tapabar.”

David Hagedorn, Arlington Magazine/Bethesda Magazine dining columnist: “Not exactly a restaurant, but the closing of L’Academie de Cuisine, which furnished D.C.-area restaurants with much of their top talent for 40 years, is tragic.”

Rina Rapuano, Zagat DC/freelance food writer:Villa Mozart.”

Don Rockwell, DC Dining:One Block West followed by Grapeseed and ABC Canteen.”

Jessica Sidman, Washingtonian food editor: “The Shaw Bijou. I mean that in the tragic sense rather than the boo-hoo sense. So much build-up and then it's gone after three months? Ooof. Glad to see chef Kwame Onwuachi isn't wasting any time wallowing though.”

Tim Carman, Washington Post food writer: “Grapeseed. I’ve always had a great deal of respect for chef Jeff Heineman. His prices were often out of my reach, but Grapeseed was a true pioneer in Bethesda. It was a chef-driven restaurant in the suburbs, offering the kind of menus that everyone takes for granted now: seasonally focused, influenced by cuisines from around the world, whole animal butchery, blah, blah, blah. All these approaches are cliched now, but they weren’t when Heineman planted his flag in Bethesda, Maryland. Even better: He took on the bureaucrats in Montgomery County, who control virtually every drop of beer, wine and liquor that rolls into the country. Producing the kind of boutique wine lists that Heineman had at Grapeseed required a lot of time, a lot of planning, and a lot of head pounding against the nearest wall.”

Stefanie Gans, Northern Virginia Magazine restaurant critic and dining editor: “I’m not sure anyone else pays attention to McLean but I really enjoyed Social Restaurant and Oyster Bar, though I do like its replacement: Esaan.”

Nevin Martell, DC Modern Luxury dining editor: “I would have been sadder about Ripple's demise if chef Ryan Ratino hadn't quickly risen from the ashes with Bresca, but its loss was still a huge blow to Cleveland Park.”

Laura Hayes, Washington City Paper food editor: “Ripple.”

Tom Sietsema, Washington Post restaurant critic: “Fairfax City is less delicious without Villa Mozart, a terrific neighborhood Italian restaurant with aspirations.”


3417 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008 202 244 7995 Visit Website


2214 Rhode Island Ave NE, Washington, D.C. 20018 (202) 627-2815 Visit Website

R Family Kitchen & Bar

4901-A Fairmont Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814 (240) 483-4004 Visit Website

The Shaw Bijou

1544 9th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20001 (202) 800-0640