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Spike Mendelsohn Closing Bearnaise on May 1

Top Chef alum switching from steak frites to tacos

[R. Lopez]

Restaurateur Spike Mendelsohn is shuttering steak frites restaurant Bearnaise at the end of the month, replacing the French bistro with a new fast-casual concept for Sunnyside Restaurant Group: a taqueria.

Micheline Mendelsohn, Spike’s sister and deputy CEO of Sunnyside, tells Eater that Bearnaise will shutter after brunch on Sunday, April 30. She expects to unveil the yet-to-be named taqueria project, which she said will be led by Bearnaise and Good Stuff Eatery vet chef Brian Lacayo, in the same space before the end of June.

“We're taking another American favorite food and serving it up with a hip vibe and fresh ingredients,” Micheline said in an email. “It's what we do best in the fast casual space.”

Washingtonian first reported that the Top Chef alum and proprietor of neighboring We, The Pizza, and Good Stuff Eatery planned to resurrect Bearnaise elsewhere in D.C. at a later date. The restaurant debuted on Capitol Hill in June 2013, taking over the space left behind when Thai Roma called it quits.

A year after going the meat-and-potatoes route, Mendelsohn was still tweaking things to fit the evolving dining scene.

“We're not sure if we want to open another one or have this be a one-off sort of thing. We haven't completed the concept 100 percent yet,” he told Eater.

At least one member of the then-first family found her way to the restaurant that same year; Michelle Obama had dinner at Bearnaise in November 2014.

Micheline declined to provide a hard date for when the next iteration of Bearnaise might come online — “End of the year, early next year” was her best guess — but did confirm that Sunnyside is branching out from its home base on Capitol Hill. “We're looking at locations in the downtown area of the city,” she said.