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Empire Builder Mike Isabella Is Returning to the Kitchen at Graffiato

Budding chain Yard House is close to opening in Chinatown

Restaurateur Mike Isabella at his first restaurant, Graffiato.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC


Seven years after opening his first restaurant (he added nearly a dozen new outposts in 2017 alone), Top Chef alum Mike Isabella is planning to head back behind the burners at flagship eatery Graffiato in order to revitalize “his baby.” Washington City Paper reports that Isabella is suspending lunch service, jettisoning older dishes, and adding a new tasting menu beginning this March.

Coming attractions

Popville reports that beer-friendly chain Yard House is now hiring in Chinatown. A member of the Darden family of restaurants (Olive Garden, Capital Grille, Seasons 52), Yard House first landed in the area in late 2014 at the renovated Springfield Town Center.


Arlnow reports that new signage is up at forthcoming Clarendon beer garden the Lot. Social Restaurant Group (The Stand, Bar Bao, Provision No. 14), which is still working on getting La Vie open in the Wharf, is behind the planned outdoor drinking spot.

Going for it

The unseasonably warm weather that blanketed the area on February 21 has prompted two local restaurants to jump-start patio season. William Jeffrey’s Tavern in Arlington (2301 Columbia Pike) and Dogwood Tavern in Falls Church (132 W. Broad Street) tell Eater they have officially opened their patios, effective immediately.

Bar Bao

3100 Clarendon Blvd, Arlington, Va 22201 703-600-0500 Visit Website

The Stand

2000 Avenue of the Stars, , CA 90067 (310) 785-0400 Visit Website


707 6th Street Northwest, , DC 20001 (202) 289-3600 Visit Website

Dogwood Tavern

132 West Broad Street, , VA 22046 (703) 237-8333 Visit Website