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Tuesday, December 3
ROSSLYN—Happy Endings Eatery, a high-tech food hall that lets patrons order pho bowls, banh mi, vermicelli noodles, Vietnamese coffees, and bubble teas on touch screen kiosks, just opened in Central Place. The 5,000-square-foot complex comes from Happy Endings Hospitality, the Northern Virginia group behind Chasin’ Tails in Falls Church and Lei’d Hawaiian Poke in Tysons Corner. Happy Endings has drawn criticism for a sexually suggestive name that could be seen as making light of sex trafficking and exploitative practices at massage parlors. The owners told Washington City Paper that the name “is meant to be lighthearted, memorable, and positive in the same way that a children’s fairytale has a happy ending.” But all of the vendors in the two-story setup — Teas’n You, Roll Play (menu below), and Pho Play — have names rife with innuendo. Status: Certified open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and weekends 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., with breakfast coming soon. Corner of 19th and N. Moore Streets; website.
NOMA—Baltimore’s popular Mediterranean eatery Cafe Fili, from the owners of the former Cafe Ole in Northwest, debuted a D.C. location at the foot of Station House. Menu offerings include egg scramblers, panini, meze, grain bowls, salads, soups, and sweets like a vanilla bean cheesecake. A $25 “mimosa package” includes a bottle of JP Chenet Rose Champagne with carafes of orange and pomegranate juice. Status: Certified open (initial hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Thursday, December 5, then until 10 p.m. starting Friday). 701 2nd Street NE; website.
DOWNTOWN—Hawaiian poke continues to trend in D.C. with the arrival this week of NoVa chain PokeHub. Customers kick off their order with a base, then pile on mix-ins, toppings, proteins, and house sauces. The brand says seafood is always delivered and prepared the same day. Its signature “Salmon’s Kick” bowl comes with rice, onion, cucumber, edamame, pineapple, masago, ginger, crabmeat, seaweed salad, wasabi mayo, yuzu ponzu, and furikake. Status: Certified open. 1225 Eye Street NW; website.
Wednesday, November 27
NATIONAL HARBOR—Fast-casual newcomer Viaggio Pizza brings hefty Detroit-style pan pizzas to the waterfront district, just in time to fuel up holiday shoppers. Along with veggie or pulled pork barbecue-topped pies, there’s sandwiches like a Cubano, caprese, and Italian subs. Salads include a hot pesto chicken salad, Palm Beach shrimp salad, and curry “caulipower.” Viaggio, splashed with a speedy Italian car racing theme, keeps every item under $10 for lunch and dinner. D.C.’s taste for Detroit-style pies grew this summer with the arrival of Red Light 2.0 on 14th Street NW. Status: Certified open. 150 American Way, National Harbor, Maryland; website.
COLUMBIA HEIGHTS—Maryland-born rectangular pizza chain Ledo just brought its cult square-shaped pies to upper Northwest. Its fourth location in D.C. proper slides into the space that formerly housed Bar Roubaix. Status: Certified open daily at 11 a.m. 1400 Irving Street NW; website.
COLUMBIA HEIGHTS—Alfredo Solis (El Sol, Mezcalero) flipped his short-lived Cuban joint, Little Havana, into Anafre — a new destination for coastal Mexican cuisine cooked on a natural hardwood charcoal grill. In addition to fried Puerto Nuevo-style lobster from Baja California, dishes include a fiery crab, oyster, and octopus ceviche; a whole snapper with a tomato broth that comes from Veracruz on the Gulf of Mexico; and Yucatan shrimp tostadas with pico de gallo, avocado, and serrano chile. The switcheroo involved replacing Havana’s bright murals with lots of religious iconography — all his restaurants have the Virgin of Guadalupe featured somewhere — along with plants and flowers. Status: Certified open. 3704 14th Street NW; website.
H STREET—New noodle shop Pho Viet USA opened with a lengthy menu of spring rolls, meatball, veggie, or seafood pho, vermicelli in a spicy lemongrass beef broth, rice dishes, and dried noodles. For drinks, there’s Vietnamese coffee, star anise tea, and boba. Status: Certified open. 333 H Street NE.
Thursday, November 21
NoMa—Northern Virginia-based King Street Oyster Bar opens its inaugural D.C. restaurant today, kicking off daily happy hour deals (3 p.m. to 7 p.m.) that include $1 oysters and $5 for sangria, wine, ceviche, crab cake or pastrami sliders, and wings. The nautical newcomer also serves gumbo, loaded seafood towers, pastas, and hot or cold lobster rolls, along with vegan burgers and a smoked fish platter from Ivy City Smokehouse. Studio 3877’s design includes a huge “Oyster” marquee over diners’ heads, anchors, and mermaids everywhere. Along with hard-to-source beers, a strong drinks program from Green Zone alum DJ Suan includes 20 cocktails ranging from a potent Old Fashioned to low-proof, bubbly “Impeach, Yes Please.” Come spring, the 4,000-square-foot corner restaurant will grow with the addition of a patio bar. Status: Scheduled to open at 4 p.m., with lunch and dinner starting Friday, November 22, and brunch joining the mix in two weeks; 22 M Street NE; website.
OLD TOWN—Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams opened its first Northern Virginia location this month, bringing a historic neighborhood dozens of hit flavors like Brambleberry Crisp and Gooey Butter Cake. The 1,400-square-foot location joins a D.C. area locations on 14th Street NW. There’s another one en route to Bethesda. Status: Certified open. 102 S Patrick St, Alexandria, Virginia; website.
14TH STREET NW—Two-level Asian-Latin hot spot Sakerum made good on its plans to dedicate its 50-seat rooftop entirely to Mediterranean meze with the opening of Semeli. The permanent switch pays tribute to Sakerum owner Stephanos Andreou’s upbringing in Nicosia, Cyprus. A prix fixe, meze-style dinner includes 14 plates for $39 per person. A rotating catch of the day (market price) comes with a whole fish and side options. Ouzo — an anise-flavored aperitif popular in Greece and Cyprus — is poured freely across the rebranded, olive tree-lined roof. Status: Certified open. 2204 14th Street NW; website.
SCOTT CIRCLE—Gerrard Street Kitchen, The Darcy Hotel’s new globe-trotting replacement to Michelin-starred Siren opened with a menu that puts chicken tajine next to Beef Wellington and features tacos made with Indian flatbread. Executive chef Jaime Velasquez, an alum of Michel Richard’s famed Citronelle, is also making savory breakfast dishes like masala scrambled egg whites with baby spinach and puri and sweeter options like creamy açaí bowls. Bar bites includes paratha tacos stuffed with Indian-spiced beef short ribs and topped with pickled onions and tzatziki. Status: Certified open. 1515 Rhode Island Avenue NW; website.
GEORGETOWN—Hakan Ilhan, the man behind Mirabelle, Ottoman Taverna, and Al Dente, converted the aging 6,000-square-foot space that was once home to Morton’s the Steakhouse into a shiny new French restaurant called Brasserie Liberté. The 250-seat millennial magnet is helmed by chef Jaryd Hearn, a 25-year-old with cooking experience at Chicago’s Michelin-starred Alinea. Hearn’s menu includes a selection of tarte flambees, or French flatbreads, along with core classics like French onion soup, duck confit, and marinated hanger steak frites. Decadent design elements include a “fabergé egg” booth, velvet drapes, a massive teal wine vault, and custom chairs upholstered in leather and plaid. Status: Open daily for lunch, brunch, dinner and late-night service. 3251 Prospect Street NW; website.
Monday, November 11
BALLSTON—Commentary Social House opened last week inside the The Westin Arlington Gateway, bringing all-day American eats and a gamut of cocktails to a booming millennial-driven corridor. The expansive new neighborhood hub includes a 50-seat bar, lounge area for 65, a 60-seat dining room, 30-seat patio, and private dining room. The Highgate Hotel menu calls for flatbreads, sandwiches, salads, and soups (see below). The idea behind the restaurant is to combine a West Coast sensibility with East Coast ingredients, which may explain why there are zoodles with quinoa “meatballs.” The brunch menu boasts blueberry flax pancakes and $3 mimosas. Status: Certified open. 801 N. Glebe Road; website.
DOWNTOWN—A year after making its stateside debut in downtown D.C., health-minded British fast food chain Leon just opened its third area location. Along with serving its familiar all-day lineup of affordable salads, toasts, wraps, and sandwiches, the corner outpost across from the McPherson Square Metro sells the brand’s new baked chicken nuggets. The expansion-happy brand, which expanded to Mount Vernon Triangle this summer, maintains 71 locations in seven countries. Status: Certified open. 1350 I Street NW; website.
SHIRLINGTON—Homegrown bistro Cheesetique, which specializes in hard-to-spot cheese selections from around the world, just relocated to a larger location in the heart of Arlington’s Village at Shirlington. The new, dairy-driven restaurant and retail shop also offers charcuterie, wine, and dry goods. The 15-year-old brand’s bigger digs feature multiple private dining rooms for classes, tasting dinners, and events. Status: Certified open. 4024 Campbell Avenue; website.
PENN QUARTER—The Boardwalk, the new 5,000-square-foot replacement to Iron Horse Tap Room, opened with nostalgic arcade games, 20 tap lines, and carnival-style food and cocktails. The two-level rebranded homage to beachside boardwalks from Ocean City, Maryland, to Santa Monica, California comes from Iron Horse owners Curt Large and Geoff Dawson — the bar vets behind Franklin Hall, Roofer’s Union, Church Hall, Rocket Bar, and Lost & Found — and new managing partner Ryan Seelbach (Takoda Restaurant & Beer Garden and airy tequila bar Cortez). Status: Certified open. 507 Seventh Street NW; website.
Tuesday, October 15
TYSONS CORNER—It’s opening day for fast-casual salad shop Flower Child’s fourth D.C. area location. The new shop is inside the Boro development in Tysons Corner. In addition to serving free lemonade, Flower Child is hosting flower shop owner Holley Simmons (She Loves Me) to make free flower crowns for dinner guests as part of a pop-up from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Flower Child’s clean-eating menu caters to vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and paleo diets with whole grain wraps, gluten-free mac and cheese, and kombucha on tap. Status: Certified open. 1656 Boro Place, McLean, Virginia; website.
DOWNTOWN—Homegrown cafe Compass Coffee also celebrates an opening today, sticking its 12th location in the Franklin Square building that houses the Washington Post. Status: Certified open. 1301 K Street NW; website.
CAPITOL HILL—Himitsu founding chef Kevin Tien opened Emilie’s last week his on Capitol Hill last week, translating his multicultural vision of America into large-format dishes like ranch-flavored fried chicken, Vietnamese pork blade steak, and a Chinese-style branzino. A big focus at the 100-seat space is the bread: Emilie’s makes a deep-dish focaccia and a whole wheat sourdough rooted in grain milled in Pennsylvania. Status: Certified open. 1101 Pennsylvania Ave SE; website.
BETHESDA—Matchbox opened its latest 5,700-square-foot location in Bethesda Row over the weekend. Lunch and dinner menus are packed with familiar wood-fired pizzas, mains, and apps like mini burgers and shrimp and grits. Fueled by funding from Thompson Hospitality, more Matchboxes are en route to Reston and Cathedral Heights in the spring, followed by another in downtown Columbia, Maryland, in the summer. Status: Certified open. 7278 Woodmont Avenue; website.
GEORGETOWN—A dessert shop in Georgetown that sold gelato and sweet bubble waffles just rebranded as Hot Pho You, a fast-casual Vietnamese restaurant serving pho and “giant,” burrito-sized spring rolls that turn the appetizer into a full meal. The 16-seat subterranean space offers dine-in or takeout services for classic pho and dry-mix pho served with broth on the side, all ordered via touchscreen upstairs. The affordable and compact menu also includes bubble teas, Vietnamese pork buns, and vermicelli noodle salads with tofu and brisket. Status: Certified open. 3279 M Street NW; website.
NAVY YARD—The ramen masters behind the Daikaya Group (Daikaya, Bantam King, Haikan) just brought Sapporo-style bowls full of tomato curry and red miso clam broths to Navy Yard with the opening of Hatoba, which means“wharf” or “dock” in Japanese. The bar program pays homage to the origins of the Boilermaker Building with a heavy lineup of canned beers, wines, and cocktails. In addition to seating for 50 people inside, the modern eatery decorated with soup bowls and lanterns sports a 30-seat patio. Status: Certified open. 300 Tingey Street SE #170; website.
Tuesday, October 8
ADAMS MORGAN—Isshin Ramen opened over the weekend along one of D.C.’s buzziest nightlife strips. The shop comes from the team behind Umi Japanese Cuisine nearby in Woodley Park. Executive chef Enming Chen, who reportedly once worked in ramen shops in Japan, brings plenty of broths to the table — think shoyu, miso, tonkotsu — along with Japanese rice bowls and vermicelli noodle dishes. The modern eatery, which replaces #1 Juicy Cajun Seafood, signals instant competition for Sakuramen nearby. Status: Certified open. 2418 18th Street NW; website.
PENN QUARTER—Sweetgreen’s newest salad shop arrived Monday. The rectangular-shaped setup, splashed with the homegrown brand’s familiar teal tiling and “made from scratch” neon slogan over the ordering line, is expected to roll out its new fall menu soon. Sweetgreen’s space replaces another fast-casual eatery, Taylor Gourmet. Status: Certified open. 624 E Street NW; website.
DOWNTOWN—Astro Beer Hall, a funky two-level venture between Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken and Tin Shop (Big Chief, Franklin Hall, TallBoy), brings 20 draft lines, weekday happy hour, and arcade games to G Street NW. Along with doughnuts and fried chicken, the bar serves loaded tater tots, wings, chicken sliders, and salads. A breakfast menu and La Colombe coffee service will begin in a few weeks. The 11,000-square-foot space, formerly Mackey’s Public House, sits next to the original Astro Doughnuts. Status: Certified open. 1306 G Street NW; website.
ROSSLYN—Power couple Fabio and Maria Trabocchi, the restaurateurs behind Michelin-starred Fiola, seafood-centric Fiola Mare, and Spanish-style Del Mar, opened their latest Sfoglina in Rosslyn over the weekend. This 4,500-square-foot outpost joins sister Sfoglina sites in Van Ness and and downtown. The Virginia outpost, the largest of the three, boasts luxurious touches like handblown glass chandeliers. Executive chef Erin Clarke is making pasta plates like linguine with lobster, roasted tomatoes, and chiles as well as a potato gnocchi with porcini crema, mushrooms, and Parmigiano Reggiano. Other entrees include “72-hour” beef short ribs with salsa verde. Status: Certified open. 1100 Wilson Blvd, Arlington; website.
NOMA—Streets Market in NoMa just flipped its small interior cafe into the first storefront for homegrown boba brand Spot of Tea. The compact menu calls for colorful boba and milk teas and smoothie bowls, with limited hours to start (daily, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.). The 3-year-old brand, formerly called Cassava, currently pops up during the week in places like Foggy Bottom, Ballston, and Navy Yard’s Saturday Smorgasburg. Status: Certified open. 51 M Street NE; website.
September 23, 2019
PETWORTH—Critically acclaimed Himitsu got a new identity this week as Pom Pom. Founding partner Carlie Steiner is now the sole owner because Kevin Tien, the opening chef, recently left to focus on his solo project coming to Capitol Hill. The playful rebrand reflects her love of the Mexican and Bolivian pom poms that decorate her nearby apartment and Dos Mamis, the bright cocktail bar across the street she recently opened with Taqueria del Barrio owner Anna Bran-Leis. Middle Eastern-influenced menu additions from chef Amanda Moll include a hamachi crudo built with za’atar and zhug, a Yemeni hot sauce. Others still look more Asian and Latin, like a wagyu beef tartare with gochujang and beet chimichurri. Status: Certified open. 828 Upshur Street NW; website.
BETHESDA—Homegrown chain Poké Papa just opened its first location outside of D.C. Tucked inside Westfield Montgomery Mall’s food court, the latest Hawaiian-styled shop imports its bright poke bowls like the popular Onolicious (ahi tuna marinated with hijiki seaweed, lotus root, ginger, sesame, scallion, and onion). The new location also introduces new desserts like mango snow ice. Status: Certified open. 7101 Democracy Boulevard, Bethesda, Maryland; website.
NAVY YARD—The booming waterfront neighborhood just got a new 2,200-square-foot cafe/retail hybrid selling coffee in the front and fashionable footwear in the back. Somewhere, which sits on the ground floor of the F1RST Residences, offers caffeinated concoctions from Hyattsville-based Vigilante Coffee Company and pastries from Baked and Wired from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Drinks include cappuccinos, lattes, and trendier concoctions like chai or matcha lattes and potent Vietnamese iced coffee. Status: Certified open. 1239 First Street SE; website.
September 16, 2019
PENN QUARTER—After going offline for two weeks, pastry parlor Bakers & Baristas reopened over the weekend as Vivi, a pizzeria selling slices of Roman-style pies. An existing lineup of pastries and coffee from the 5-year-old cafe are now joined by sturdy, rectangular-shaped slices in 10 varieties. One pie called “The District” comes loaded with D.C.’s famed mumbo sauce, braised pork shoulder, thin sliced pickled red onion, and collard greens. Wine and beer will enter the mix in about two months. Gordon’s growing pizza footprint includes selling Neapolitan pies at family-friendly Little Beast in upper Northwest and a recent change to offer Detroit-style pies at Red Light on 14th Street NW. Status: Certified open. 501 Seventh Street NW; website.
OLD TOWN—Following a months-long renovation, decades-old Joe Theismann’s Restaurant just unveiled a refreshed look and menu. New items like pan-seared salmon, beef short ribs, poke bowls, and Southern fried chicken salad join mainstays at the sports bar and steakhouse. Under a new weekend brunch deal, the first bloody mary costs $9, and additional orders are $5 each. The interior got a football-themed refresh with soft brown leather banquettes, turf green walls, and a collection of autographed jerseys and footballs. There’s also a new island bar with 20 draft lines. Last year, Alexandria Restaurant Partners (ARP) bought an equity stake in the 7,800-square-foot steakhouse. Theisman, a former star quarterback for the Redskins, opened it in 1975. Status: Certified open. 1800 Diagonal Road, Alexandria, Virginia; website.
DOWNTOWN—D.C. restaurateur Ashok Bajaj (Rasika, Sababa, the Oval Room) has reinvented 10-year-old Italian mainstay Bibiana as Modena. Chef John Melfi is weaving local ingredients into dishes featuring Northern Italian staples like Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, Prosciutto di Parma, and — obviously — balsamic vinegar from Modena. The menu includes spaghetti-like chitarra pasta swimming with Calabrian chile, sea urchin, and jumbo lump crab, and an antipasti trolley delivering six to eight family-style salads and snacks at a time. Status: Certified open. 1100 New York Avenue NW; website.
SILVER SPRING—D.C. celebrity chef Spike Mendelsohn opened the first location of PLNT Burger, a small fast-casual counter inside a Maryland Whole Foods. Mendelsohn and his longtime righthand man, director of operations Mike Colletti, are forming patties out of a Beyond Meat 2.0 blend. Cheeses and milkshakes offered on-site are also all vegan. To start, there’s four burgers on the menu: a regular burger with a tomato, lettuce, pickles, and pinkish PLNT sauce; a cheeseburger; a double cheeseburger; and a mushroom bacon burger, topped with “bloomies,” or tiny onion shards fried in a rice flour batter. Status: Certified open. 833 Wayne Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland; website.
September 9, 2019
DOWNTOWN—The group that bought Taylor Gourmet at a bankruptcy auction ended the popular D.C. sandwich chain’s year-long absence from the market this morning when it reopened a location downtown. Brandon Dodrill, who spent five years as a district manager with the chain, is now the VP and chief operating officer overseeing the preservation of favorites like the 9th Street Italian hoagie. Taylor Gourmet expects to return to Dupont and North Bethesda next. Founder Casey Patten is not involved anymore but is doing his own thing at Grazie Grazie. Status: Certified open at 11 a.m. 1750 Pennsylvania Avenue NW; website.
CLEVELAND PARK—Tino’s opened last week on the main drag in Cleveland Park, replacing a Chipotle with a Neapolitan pizza counter that tops pies with farmer’s market produce, seafood, guanciale, and “shallot goo.” The shop comes from chef-owner Logan Griffith, who’s going for a more casual vibe that he had at former stops like the Watergate, the Inn at Little Washington, and Blue Duck Tavern. Status: Certified open. 3420 Connecticut Avenue NW
14th STREET NW—Bar Lorea opened in the former Diet Starts Monday space just off U Street NW last week, introducing a taco Tuesday deal that includes two hours of bottomless tacos (there are nine kinds) and two drinks for $28. Margaritas and daiquiris are among four cocktails that run for $6 at happy hour (all day Monday; 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday). Status: Certified open. 2005 14th Street NW; website
H STREET NE—D.C. native and Army vet Mark Abraham unveiled Ella Grace, a new all-day cafe and cocktail bar full of a vintage luxury furniture with food from a Del Mar alum. The opening menu includes just three dishes: meatballs with goat cheese and dried currants; a rice bowl with kimchi, egg, and barrel-aged fish sauce; and a black sesame chiffon cake. Status: Certified open. 1421 H Street NE
SHAW—Late last month, Duke’s Grocery managing partner Daniel Kramer opened Gogi Yogi, the first Korean barbecue restaurant in D.C. proper that’s outfitted with tabletop grills. Chef Patrice Cunningham, who used to host Korean AirBnB meals out of her apartment, is behind the menu full of traditional dishes like banchan, mandu, and bulgogi, along with riffs like fries with gochujang aioli. Status: Certified open. 1921 Eighth Street NW; website
ARLINGTON—The owners of A-Town Bar and Grill replaced the rowdy gathering place for Ballston bros with a new German beer hall called Bronson that sells stuffed pretzels, roasted chicken sandwiches, and five varieties of sausage. There are 16 beers on tap. Status: Certified open. 4100 Fairfax Drive; website
DUPONT—Peacock Cafe owners Maziar and Shahab Farivar opened Vintage78 just off Dupont Circle, bringing the neighborhood a place for modern Persian dishes like pomegranate-glazed chicken with sour cherry rice and beef stew with sun-dried limes. Cocktails integrate saffron, cardamom, cinnamon, and pomegranate. Status: Certified open. 2100 P Street NW
August 27, 2019
WOODLEY PARK—Naanwise opened over the weekend along an aging Northwest strip that hasn’t seen a new dining option in some time. The Indian arrival is gambling on viable weekday foot traffic, offering a bottomless lunch buffet for $14 ($20 on weekends). The menu (below) is a whopping five pages long, featuring apps and soups; veggie, chicken, lamb and rice specialties; a column devoted to tandoori breads; desserts; and lassis to drink. There are 15 tables inside, with an outdoor patio opening later. Less than a mile north, Indian options include the longtime mainstay Indique and 2-year-old Bindaas. Status: Certified open 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. 2635 Connecticut Ave NW; website.
ROCKVILLE—It’s opening day for MOD Pizza’s newest area location, inside Federal Realty’s Montrose Crossing development. The shop joins a fast-casual cluster that includes Cava, Slapfish, and HoneyGrow. Customers can build their owns pies and salads using a combination of more than 30 toppings, all at a fixed priced. The 3,100-square-foot location also offers cheesy garlic bread, hand-spun milkshake, lemonades, and local craft beers and wine. The Seattle-based brand boasts more than 450 locations across 28 states and the U.K. Status: Certified open. 12027 Rockville Pike in Rockville, Maryland; website.
DUPONT CIRCLE—Late-night Lebanese street food spot Muncheez unveiled its third (and biggest) location yet inside the former two-story DGS Delicatessen space, renovated with lot of colorful odes to its owner’s native Beirut. Along with importing its chicken and beef shawarmas, the menu includes familiar build-your-own bowls, meze, and Mediterranean-style flatbreads. New items include a cauliflower pita stuffed with fries and a gluten-free lentil tabbouleh. Status: Certified open daily from 11 a.m. through well past midnight. 1317 Connecticut Avenue NW; website.
GEORGETOWN—Taïm, the critically acclaimed falafel shop out of New York City, just debuted in D.C. The fast-casual counter sells pitas, salads, and platters stuffed with four options: falafel — either herbaceous green or spicy harissa — all-veggie “Mezze-terranean,” cauliflower shawarma, or sabich (fried eggplant). Taïm, co-founded by an Israeli-born chef, also serves fries with either saffron aioli or harissa ketchup, as well as seasonal salads and smoothies in flavors like date lime banana or strawberry raspberry basil. Status: Certified open. 1065 Wisconsin Avenue NW; website.
DUPONT CIRCLE—After suffering a devastating fire two years ago, the original Mandu restaurant reopened last night as Anju. The modern Korean pub, from the restaurant group behind Chiko, aims to make a statement on how far Korean food as come in America. An open kitchen with four counter seats offers a direct shot of the cooled kimchi and ferments that go into banchan, or small side dishes. Two six-tops in the second-floor dining room have built-in induction burners to accommodate a special jeongol (Korean hot pot) tasting menu. There’s also a private dining space, known as the Garden Room, and a bar area on the first floor. Status: Certified open. 1805 18th Street NW; website.
August 21, 2019
MT. VERNON TRIANGLE—It’s opening day for health-minded British fast food chain Leon. For its second D.C. location, expect a familiar all-day lineup of affordable salads, toasts, wraps, and sandwiches. The modern 70-seat eatery also debuts with the brand’s new baked chicken nuggets. To celebrate opening day, guests who join the LEON Lovers Club will be able to get any menu item free with a $2 donation to local nonprofit Martha’s Table. The U.K. chain, which opened its first D.C. location in 2018, is bulking up its outposts in the city and hopes to have 15 U.S. locations open by the end of 2020. Status: Certified open. 655 New York Avenue NW; website.
EASTERN MARKET—Eat Brgz, a new fast-casual brand that bills itself as America’s first “mix-in burger” bar, just unveiled its inaugural 1,600-square-foot location inside EastBanc Inc.’s new mixed-use project, 700 Penn. Diners can customize their burgers by picking a core protein (100-percent black angus beef from Roseda Farms, chicken, or veggie) and an assortment of ingredients to cook into the patty. Made-to-order customizable burgers (all under $9) come with dippers like tzatziki, queso, and mojo. Along with wine and beer, there’s protein-packed milkshakes with fewer calories than traditional shakes. Status: Certified open. 250 Seventh Street SE; website.
FORTH LINCOLN—Mecho’s Dominican Kitchen, a new fast-casual Dominican restaurant from the team behind longtime Columbia Heights staple Los Hermanos, opened at the Shops at Dakota Crossing. Offerings include rice and beans alongside stewed chicken; fried whole red snapper topped with coconut glaze; passion fruit juices; and mofongo de chicharrón. Status: Certified open. 2450 Market Street NE; website.
FALLS CHURCH—Thompson Italian, the new family-friendly restaurant from vet chefs Gabe and Katherine Thompson, opened for dinner service. The modern 100-seat pasta playground, splashed with rock concert poster prints, subway tiles, and neon signage, replaces the former Argia’s Italian restaurant. A straightforward, one-page menu is split into starters, salads, pastas, fish and meat, and sides. Look for one or two specials every night, like a large steak or whole fish. Status: Certified open. 124 N. Washington Street; website.
SILVER SPRING—Two and a half years after closing in downtown Silver Spring, Adega Wine Bar just reopened as Locavino. The 2,500-square-foot reinvented wine bar and cafe comes from longtime Adega employees Jarrod Jabre and Justin Wallace, who hope to bulk up its wine list to 300 selections. Chef Santos Amaya also returned to helm the kitchen, bringing back a familiar lineup of all-day apps, sandwiches like grilled cheese and panini, flatbreads, burgers, hot and cold wraps, pastas, and substantial salads. Status: Certified open. 8519 Fenton Street, Silver Spring, Maryland; website.
August 1, 2019
BALLSTON—It’s opening day for Maizal, Ballston Quarter mall’s latest food option with Latin American flair. The fast-casual stall offers build-your-own arepas or bowls featuring an assortment of bases, proteins, toppings, and sauces to choose from (see menu below). Maizal’s own lineup of empanadas and arepas are sold individually or in quantities of six or 12. Diners can bulk up orders with sides (yuca fries, street corn, and queso) alongside tacos, tortas, and a short list of traditional desserts like churros and tres leches cake. For opening day, diners get a free arepa and side with the purchase of a drink. Status: Certified open from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. 4238 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia; website.
RESTON, VIRGINIA—National chain North Italia, known for its truffle bread and made-from-scratch pizzas and pasta, opened its first Virginia location for lunch and dinner service. The sprawling 6,400-square-foot Reston Town Center site fits 235 inside and 44 on the patio. Featured items include waygu skirt steak; burrata tortelloni and bolognese pastas; and chopped chicken salad for lunch. The bar, which offers happy hour weekdays 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., makes a Sicilian Margarita with gran centenario añejo, solerno blood orange, and lime. Fox Restaurant Concepts’ first area North Italia outpost opened in February in Foggy Bottom, with a third opening in Tysons Corner soon. Status: Certified open. 11898 Market Street, Reston, Virginia; website.
DOWNTOWN—Fast-casual Mediterranean joint Roti debuted its ninth D.C. location, giving its 9-to-5 neighborhood another grab-and-go option. The corner setup sits inside a former Wells Fargo space. Status: Certified open. 1850 M Street NW; website.
CAPITOL HILL—The Eastern, named after its Eastern Market neighborhood, started pouring 40 wines by the glass and bottle alongside cocktails that swing from complex to casual (Miller High Life “Champagne service”). The modern drinking perch, filled with sleek midcentury details and abstract artwork, comes from the owners of Barrel nearby. Its chef Walfer Hernandez brings charcuterie and cheese plates, sandwiches, seafood, and dips to the table. Status: Certified open. 360 7th Street SE.
TYSONS CORNER—Northern Virginia’s prolific Great American Restaurants brand unveiled its crown jewel steakhouse, Randy’s Prime Seafood and Steaks, capping off the family-run group’s new three-part culinary complex along Leesburg Pike. Along with an American-heavy list of highly rated wines, luxury orders landing on mahogany tables include a shellfish cake made out of lobster and crab, Ora King Salmon from New Zealand, and seared day boat scallops atop creamed corn with andouille sausage and ramp foam. Next-door, the more casual Patsy’s American serves a list of greatest hits from GAR’s other venues. 8051 Leesburg Pike, Tysons Corner, Virginia; website.
July 3, 2019
CHEVY CHASE—Following a few trial weekends of carry-out service, Capital Crab & Seafood started seating its first guests inside this week. The first standalone extension of restaurateur Tim Walsh’s truck-based catering company slid into the space formerly occupied by his Italian restaurant Arucola Osteria. Noodles live on inside the laid-back replacement, now topped by fresh catches of branzino, salmon, or trout. Its star summertime crab offering — sized medium (5-inch) to XL (6.5-inch) — arrive on Miller Lite-branded platters (Walsh’s crab-picking beer pairing of choice). Along with a full bar, there’s oysters, jumbo shrimp, and sides like lump crab-mixed mac and cheese and hush puppies. Bartenders (one of whom is Walsh’s sister, Jessica) wear T-shirts sporting “Crustacean with Representation” D.C. license plate logos. Other underwater accents include a lighthouse mural and chalkboard tutorials detailing proper crab-picking etiquette. More nautical decor and its full menu will go live in the coming weeks, along with the opening of its second level. Status: Certified open weekdays from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and weekends from noon to 10:30 p.m. 5534 Connecticut Avenue NW; website.
BALLSTON—Cucina Al Volo opened its fifth area outpost inside Quarter Market, bringing its core Italian lineup of pasta, sauces, and Roman-style pizzas to the growing Ballston food hall. Guests can customize their creations by picking a pasta and sauce, and daily rotating specials include lamb ragu; spinach and ricotta ravioli; and chicken marsala. Anything can be ordered to-go, and packaged pastas and sauces can be prepared at home. Status: Certified open for lunch and dinner. 4238 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia; website.
PENN QUARTER—Homegrown pizza chain Matchbox, which recently vacated the Chinatown location on H Street where it originally got its start 10 years ago, opened a new location three blocks over in a building on the National Register of Historic Places. The Streetsense-designed space features a cozy and lived-in vibe, with 125 seats inside, a 28-seat sidewalk patio, and pizza bar in prime view of the custom wood-fired oven. Like the new Silver Spring location, there’s dedicated lunch and dinner menus, with daytime dishes like jumbo lump crab cake with red pepper remoulade, Old Bay fries, and coleslaw. Status: Certified open. 750 E Street NW; website.
TRUXTON CIRCLE—Chris Svetlik, co-founder of D.C. pop-up Republic Kolache, brings his brand’s kolaches (Texas’s favorite pastry), breakfast tacos, and coffee from Northeast roaster Small Planes to the residential-heavy neighborhood with the arrival of Tex-Mex cafe Republic Cantina. The Texan native’s first brick-and-mortar restaurant is lined with scene-setting accents like glowing chili pepper lights, towering cacti, and vintage Western photos. Drinks with a Tex-Mex twist include a “Mexican Mocha” with chocolate, chipotle, and ancho chili, horchata iced lattes, and licuados — a frothy mix of fruit, milk, and ice. A full-service dinner menu with enchiladas, combo platters, and alcohol (think Texan beers, spiked espresso drinks, and frozen margaritas) will join the mix in a few weeks. Status: Certified open. 43 N Street NW; website.
June 24, 2019
NORTH BETHESDA—Brazilian steakhouse Fogo de Chao opens a location today in the growing Pike & Rose complex, adding a 300-seat place to feast on a parade of skewered Brazilian steaks. The 41st U.S. location’s design features an open churrasco grill, sleek white Carrara marble accents, and an interpretation of Antonio Carigni’s famous 16-foot O’Laçador statue. There’s a bar area and open-air patio with a weekday happy hour (4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.) that offers $4 bites and beers, $6 South American wines, and $8 cocktails. Inside, weekend brunch will include braised beef rib hash, stations for waffles and omelets, mango Chilean sea bass, and seafood towers. The international brand already has locations downtown and in Tysons Corner. Status: Open daily for lunch and dinner starting at 11 a.m. 11600 Old Georgetown Road; website.
LOGAN CIRCLE—Street Carts, a fast-casual Asian place from Maryland-based Phillips Seafood’s first, opened last week. Customizable bowls come with a base of jasmine rice or udon noodles, proteins such as ginger pork and garlic steak, and sauces like Malaysian red curry or Singapore black pepper. Other options include a chilled Laotian minced chicken salad, Thai tom yum soup, and Vietnamese shrimp summer rolls. There are fresh-pressed juices and lychee green tea to drink. The replacement to Tortilla Coast, lined with Asian hand-carved woodwork, was inspired by the street vendors founder Steve Phillips used to frequent across Southeast Asia. An adjoining Phillips Seafood and Steak sister spot will debut next-door in the coming weeks. Status: Certified open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. 1454 P Street NW; website.
BROOKLAND—Shaw’s Calabash Tea and Tonic expanded with a second D.C. location, bringing the Brookland neighborhood a new sun-splashed respite to sip wellness-minded drinks alongside decor sourced from around the globe (think metal lamps made in Egypt and colorful Turkish ottomans and pillows). Some 150 herbs, flowers, and medicinal plants sprouting across an outdoor patio garden make their way into more than 80 organic tea blends. Dr. Sunyatta Amen, a fifth-generation master herbalist and naturopathic physician, relies on her Cuban-Jamaican great-grandmother’s recipes to create drinks that advertise health benefits. In addition to its star teas, there’s kombucha on tap and an expanded “superfood latte” menu. The food includes vegetarian sandwiches, gluten-free desserts, and savory vegan pies. Status: Certified open. 2701 12th Street NE; website.
June 18, 2019
OXON HILL— A Vietnamese counter called Saigon Street is now open around the clock at MGM National Harbor, aiming to keep late-night gamblers going with chef Gene Nguyen’s banh mi sandwiches, pan-fried noodle dishes, and pho bowls. The sleek, fast-casual setup is part of MGM’s grab-and-go “National Market” food hall area (Shake Shack, Zizi’s Pizza). Saigon Street’s grand opening is scheduled for Sunday, June 30. Meanwhile, José Andrés’s full-service Fish restaurant just unveiled a refurbished outdoor extension dubbed “The Patio,” complete with communal tables outfitted with built-in beverage coolers and lounge chairs. Al fresco highlights include clams, lobster rolls, peel-and-eat shrimp, and rosé Mondays. Status: Certified open. 101 MGM National Avenue, Oxon Hill, Maryland; website.
BALLSTON—Ted’s Bulletin 2.0 debuted this month at the growing Ballston Quarter development, marking the first new location for the popular local comfort food chain since &pizza co-founder Steve Salis acquired it in late 2017. Corporate executive chef Chris Anderson, who led modernist Chicago restaurant Moto to a Michelin star a few years ago and also worked at Alinea, is bringing in more salads, an avocado hummus appetizer, and a cauliflower steak entree. Many of the changes have already appeared at the five existing locations of Ted’s (don’t worry, its all-day breakfast menu isn’t going anywhere). The brand’s updated look in Ballston incorporates Bauhaus and mid-century modern elements into its Art Deco identity. The latest Ted’s locale also includes a new sibling bakery called Sidekick. Status: Certified open. 4238 Wilson Blvd Suite 1130, Arlington, Virginia; website.
DOWNTOWN—The 318-room Hamilton Hotel just unveiled the final pieces of its multi-million dollar renovation downtown: an all-day Italian restaurant specializing in Neapolitan pizza (Via Sophia) and a glamorous, tiny bar serving well-executed cocktails and caviar (Society) hidden off the lobby. The anticipated two-part venture is helmed by an all-star hospitality cast that includes Via Sophia executive chef Colin Clark, who was most recently chef de cuisine at Trabocchi’s Georgetown Harbor darling, Fiola Mare. Weeknight happy hour (4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.) slashes prices on specialty pizzas, cocktails, wine, and beer. Status: Certified open. 1001 14th Street NW; website.
DOWNTOWN—Cherry, the W Washington D.C.’s renovated lobby-level restaurant across the street from the White House, is now open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A custom 15-foot wood-burning grill is the star, churning out brined, roasted chickens (half or whole) covered in toasted sesame-scallion butter under chef de cuisine William Morris’s watch. In addition to the 60-seat restaurant, copper penny-lined Cherry has a bar that features a replica of the Capitol’s domed ceiling. Cocktail Professor, an Amsterdam-based mixologist collective, designed the mixed drinks both downstairs and at its recently revamped rooftop pinnacle, POV. Status: Certified open. 515 15th Street NW; website.
May 30, 2019
NOMA—Mount Vernon Triangle sandwich shop Carving Room opened a cavernous sister spot called CR NoMa this week, bringing deli classics, Moroccan-inspired dishes, and coastal Mediterranean vibes to the Northeast neighborhood. Along with importing fried Moroccan “cigars” that drew notice from Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, the “soft-opening” menu includes small bites such roasted cauliflower and pearl couscous ($5-$9). There are also dips and salads featuring roasted beets, carrot, and hummus. A section of meatballs features varieties made out of chicken and zucchini; leg of lamb; brisket and pork; or rockfish and whiting. Bigger plates for lamb ribs or chicken schnitzel run $15. Local beers are $6 on happy hour, and cocktails include a “Stay Classy DC” draft with Ford’s Gin ($11), with local players like Cotton & Reed and Don Ciccio in the mix. A full menu reveal and grand opening is scheduled for Monday, June 3. Status: Certified open. 130 M Street NE; website.
TYSONS CORNER—City Works Tysons opened its first area location at the base of the Capital One building with 90 local and global beers and eight wines on draft. The chain’s latest 12,000-square-foot restaurant features 24 HD TVs and a focus on classic American fare. The diverse lineup includes tacos, four burgers (including a braised short rib variety), cheese curds, and entrees like a pork chop and red grouper. Its massive 20-ounce bloody mary goblet for weekend brunch comes crowned with a grilled shrimp and a skewer loaded with cubed pepper jack cheese, cornichon, cherry tomato, Gibson cocktail onion, and a Slim Jim stir stick. Status: Certified open. 1640 Capital One Drive North, McLean, Va.; website.
BETHESDA—Prima, Schlow Restaurant Group’s first foray into fast-casual, opened inside the former Taylor Gourmet location on Bethesda Row with build-your-own offerings ($10) that star salad and grain bowls built with Italian ingredients. Bases like kale, arugula, brown rice, or quinoa segues to veggies such as marinated baby artichokes, sweet peas with fresh mint, tuscan white beans, and wild mushrooms with rosemary and balsamic vinegar. For an additional charge, customers can add proteins like grilled chicken, Sicilian tuna, or meatballs modeled after a recipe from award-winning chef Michael Schlow’s mother-in-law. Status: Certified open. 7280 Woodmont Avenue, Bethesdsa, Maryland; website.
PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY—Maryland’s second Denizens Brewing Co. debuted inside the Riverdale Park Station development between Hyattsville and College Park, bringing the growing development a new production facility and taproom with 20 draft lines, nine riffs on cocktail classics, and the same globally-inspired bar fare found in Silver Spring. Status: Certified open. 4550 Van Buren Street, Riverdale Park, Md.; website.
ARLINGTON—Former Columbia Heights craft beer bar and restaurant Meridian Pint officially moved to the suburbs in the Dominion Hills neighborhood of Arlington. The food menu at the smaller 2,400-square-foot location is mostly unchanged, but executive chef Logan McGear has tweaked toppings and presentation styles for the nachos (Monterey Jack, Cotija, guacamole, pico de gallo, chipotle sour cream, pickled jalapenos) and some of the specialty burgers. Status: Certified open. 6035 Wilson Boulevard; website.
DOWNTOWN—Fast-casual SoCal chain Slapfish just unveiled its first D.C. location, sliding into the former Capriotti’s space. Its seafood-forward lineup includes clam chowder-topped fries, ceviches, fish tacos, poke bowls, and a section devoted to lobster plucked from the Atlantic. Huntington Beach, California-based Slapfish debuted its first East Coast location in Rockville last summer. A Ballston Quarter location is coming soon. Status: Certified open. 1800 M Street NW; website.
May 23, 2019
COLUMBIA HEIGHTS—It’s opening day for Wawa’s newest 24/7 convenience store. The hoagie-slinging operation, sized around 6,000 square feet, is packed with Wawa’s newest items (think custom salads and milkshakes). To celebrate its opening next to Columbia Heights Metro, guests can get a free coffee (any size) through Sunday. The roadside fixture is continuing to make good on its plans to blanket the city with up to 50 outposts, with a Tenleytown opening slated for June and another in Adams Morgan this fall. Its first D.C. store debuted in 2017 with subway tile-wrapped walls, nitro cold brew coffee, free Wi-Fi, and a curbside patio. A Georgetown location followed last year. The latest locale replaces the space formerly occupied by Potbelly, Five Guys, and Pete’s. Status: Certified open. 1400 Irving Street NW; website.
BLOOMINGDALE—The space that formerly housed chicken sandwich bar Crisp reopened as Hopscotch, a newly renovated destination for board games, $7 glasses of wine, and Italian-American dishes like spaghetti and meatballs and pork chops with mashed potatoes. The two-story venture comes from Matt Mazzocchi and his father, Tommy Mazzocchi, who worked at now-shuttered Dupont Circle sports bar Maddy’s. The name is inspired by the childhood game and the breakdown of “hops” for beer, and “scotch” for liquor. Status: Certified open. 1837 1st Street NW; website.
SHAW—Chefs Seng Luangrath and Bobby Pradachith, the mother-and-son duo behind essential Lao eatery Thip Khao in Columbia Heights, just brought their spicy native cuisine to Shaw with the opening of Hanumanh. The name refers to a monkey deity that shows up in Hindu and Buddhist texts, which explains the wall-to-wall murals showing cartoon monkeys preparing dishes with a mortar and pestle and a traditional Lao pot. Barmini alum Al Thompson oversees cocktails, beers, and ciders, which are designed to pair well with its small plates. Initial offerings include sakoo yadsai (a tapioca dumpling filled with a palm sugar caramel that integrates ground pork, peanuts, and salted radish); som kaw muu (sour pork jowl served with toasted rice and and charred mushrooms); and naem khao kob — a puffed rice salad with tamarind sauce. The colorful space sports a patio out back. Status: Certified open. 1604 7th St NW; website.
May 14, 2019
DUPONT CIRCLE—The soaring two-story space that housed short-lived Mediterranean eatery Barrafina just went the Italian route with a takeover over by Rosemarino D’ Italia. The original Rosemarino opened six years ago in the Alexandria neighborhood of Del Ray. The restaurant serves a lengthy lineup of starters (escargot, calamari, and mussels), salads, house-made pastas and risottos, and entrees like braised veal shank, shrimp and scallops, and pan-seared marsala. There’s 75 seats downstairs and 45 upstairs, accented by antique mirrors, slick black and burgundy seating, and brick walls painted a shiny silver. Much of the decor lived on from its former life as Barrafina, which shuttered after less than a year. Before that, the space housed tapas bar Madrid. A minor refresh included painting an Italian flag atop Barrafina’s Banksy-themed artwork. The switcheroo went live at the beginning of May, with a grand opening held last weekend. Status: Certified open for lunch and dinner. 1714 Connecticut Avenue NW; website.
PETWORTH—A new burger joint called Lucy’s set up shop at the top of casual Italian restaurant at Little Coco’s, bringing the neighborhood refined riffs on McDonald’s classics. There’s $6.99 quarter-pound cheeseburgers, skinny fry sides ($2.49), and “& Coke” cocktails (bourbon, rum, Cynar) for $9. The once-rotating bar space formerly housed seasonal pop-up odes to Baywatch, and most recently, a ski lodge, but Lucy’s arrival aims to be a permanent rooftop fixture going forward. Burgers include a Deluxe ($7.99) upgraded with bacon, cherry peppers, and white American cheese, and a Royale ($15.99) with foie gras and truffle aioli. Co-owners Jackie Greenbaum and Gordon Banks already have burger street cred with Quarry House, their beloved underground refuge for bourbon and burgers that finally re-opened about a year ago after three years of renovations following fire and water damage. Status: Certified open. 3907 14th Street NW; website.
Lucy's Menu by on Scribd
NAVY YARD—Dacha’s Southeast sequel to its original Shaw beer garden brings the ballpark neighborhood a massive eating and drinking destination outfitted with a high-tech lighting and sound system, with colorful murals of Jackie O and JFK overlooking diners below. A tree-lined beer garden opened outside last week with room for 700 people and a vintage airstream cooler dispensing beer cans. Indoor components include a 69-seat bar with standing room for 100 more, selling all 26 beers offered in Shaw along with 14 cocktails (three on draft) and wines chosen by specialist Miriam Razavi. Diverse dining options include lobster linguini; a large-format, coffee-brined Muscovy duck; and Italian meatballs in tomato sauce. Status: Certified open. 79 Potomac Avenue SE; website.
May 8, 2019
BALLSTON—Oprah-approved health food chain True Food Kitchen just imported its best-selling skinny margaritas and edamame dumplings to the shiny new Ballston Quarter corridor. The modern restaurant, lined with potted succulents, sleek lime-hued banquettes, and growing herbs along its patio, features an open kitchen and a mural made of colorful book spines reading “nourish your soul”. Dishes designed to feed a range of diets include cauliflower polenta, Korean noodle bowls, pizzas, burgers, and sandwiches. A full bar at the front serves fresh-pressed fruit and vegetable juices, seasonal cocktails, local beer, and wine. The Phoenix-based brand has two other local locations, in Fairfax and Bethesda. Hours are weekdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. with an 11 p.m. on Friday and a 10 a.m. opening time and Saturday and Sunday. Brunch runs until 3 p.m. and calls for vegan chorizo bowls, egg-and-chicken sausage sandwiches, and honeydew mimosas. Status: Certified open. 4238 Wilson Blvd Suite 1110, Arlington, Virginia; website.
H STREET—Date night-friendly Bar Bullfrog opened in the Star & Shamrock space next to Bullfrog Bagels, bringing the strip a cozy destination for local beers on tap, wines, cocktails, and Bullfrog’s familiar carb lineup of bagel bites and sandwiches. Hearty options includes house-made pastas, pierogi plates, seafood gumbo, braised brisket, house-smoked fish, and gluten-free yucca doughnuts (see menu below). Status: Certified open 4 p.m. to midnight Tuesday to Friday and 12 p.m. to 1 a.m. on weekends (closed Monday). 1341 H Street NE; website.
Bar Bullfrog Menu by on Scribd
NORTHEAST—Duet, from the owner behind critically acclaimed Indian chain Masala Art, just brought the transit hub neighborhood near Union Station a half-Italian, half-Indian restaurant with pizzas, curries, butter chicken, panini, and sangrias. The Italian side calls for bruschetta, calamari, and Tuscan shrimp and scallop pasta. Indian options include chicken kebabs, stuffed Indian baby eggplant, and lamb and chicken biryani. A spacious patio features its own rolling bar cart serving vats of Masala’s hit Manhattans, made with bourbon, infused beer, and cinnamon. The new venture replaces Toscana Cafe, which closed last summer inside the quaint two-story brick townhome. Status: Certified open. 601 2nd Street NE; website.
NORTHEAST—Laos in Town just brought the NoMa neighborhood a 95-seat destination for regional cuisine from the Southeast Asian country (think grilled pork shoulder with roasted rice powder or green papaya salad). The Thai team includes executive chef Ben Tiatasin and owner Nick Ongsangkoon, who’s also a partner at downtown Thai eatery Soi 38. Mains are built around grilled whole fish and chicken, and finales include a grilled banana with caramelized flower sauce and banana ice cream. Status: Certified open for lunch and dinner. 250 K Street NE; website.
IVY CITY—Cocktail aficionados just got a whimsical spot to sample Italian amaros, apertivos, and cordials at the new royal blue-soaked production facility and tasting room from D.C.-based liqueur company Don Ciccio & Figli. The brand’s move from the Manor Park neighborhood in Northwest more than doubles its production space. Free tours and tastings of its 14 spirits runs every 30 minutes from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. An interior mermaid-themed cocktail room dubbed Bar Sirenis offers flights of the mixed drinks for $12 (for two) or $15 (for three). The cocktail menu is split into two parts: classics ($9 to $11) including a Negroni, an Americano, and a spritz, and specialties that incorporate other liqueurs (limoncello, cinque) along with higher-proof spirits such as vodka, gin, and rye. Status: Certified open. 1907 Fairview Avenue NE; website.
April 22, 2019
H STREET NE—It’s opening day for Cane, chef Peter Prime’s colorful temple to rum shops and the street foods he grew up eating on the island of Trinidad. The Spark at Old Engine 12 alum’s first D.C. venture to call his own stars dishes like jerk chicken wings, grilled oxtails, brisket sliders, and deep-fried whole snapper tossed with pickled peppers. A soft-serve machine pumps out smoked coconut ice cream with a benne seed candy, with flavors like Guinness beer and rum raisin rotating in for adults. A textured wall made from a composite of recycled sugar cane is the backdrop for his native cuisine, which was heavily impacted by enslaved people from Africa who worked the sugar cane fields. Status: Certified open at 4 p.m. 403 H Street NE; website.
SOUTHWEST—The Wharf just got a splashy 3,500-square-foot rooftop drinking destination atop the Intercontinental Hotel. Along with martinis, Negronis, and Casamigos-filled margarita, bar fare at 12 Stories includes local oysters, a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich, and a ceviche-style crudo. The anticipated arrival marks the D.C. debut for Gerber Group, the prominent bar builder behind New York City’s trendy hotel bar Mr. Purple. Status: Certified open on the 12th floor. 75 District Square SW; website.
MOUNT VERNON TRIANGLE—Osteria Morini chef Michael White brought the 9-to-5 neighborhood a modern spot for Italian snacks, antipasti, meatballs, salads, fresh pasta, sea bass, and Limoncello with the opening of Nicoletta Italian Kitchen. The sprawling 4,000-square-foot setup includes a tiny coffee shop, Brew’d, serving fresh pastries, panini, and espresso drinks with a custom La Marzocco machine. Status: Certified open. 901 4th Street NW; website.
14th STREET NW—Acclaimed Venezuelan chef Enrique Limardo made his D.C. debut with the opening of Seven Reasons inside the tri-level space formerly occupied by Piola. The ivy-adorned restaurant’s menu is split into seven sections: snacks, small plates, medium plates, large plates, desserts, cocktails, and wines, aiming to unite flavors from Limardo’s native country with those from Peru, the Amazon rainforest, and the Caribbean. Status: Certified open. 2208 14th Street NW; website.
April 15, 2019
NAVY YARD—Walters Sports Bar debuted across from Nationals Park over the weekend with 24 pour-your-own drafts, reports Washingtonian. The all-day beer bar comes from D.C. native Jeremy Giffords, the founder of DC Reynolds in Petworth. Walters is named after legendary Senators pitcher Walter Johnson. Patrons can load up beer cards attached to their tabs and fill up on brews bolted along a brick wall. The selection ranges from Budweiser to a collaboration with Atlas. A menu heavy on burgers is expected to roll out in the next few weeks, pending permits. The 100-seat space will soon double in size with the addition of spacious patio areas. Status: Certified open 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. (subject to change). 1221 Van Street SE; website.
BALLSTON—Dirt, the health-oriented, fast-casual concept from Miami, quietly opened on Sunday, April 14, at the new Ballston Exchange development in Arlington. Opening week hours are Monday, April 15, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Tuesday, April 16, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The lengthy menu caters to a range of omnivores, vegans, vegetarians, and gluten-free diets with breakfast, soups, toasts, sandwiches, wraps, salads, bowls, smoothies, juices, vegan “mylkshakes”, pastries, and a full espresso bar and tea program. The trendy chain’s first 33-seat location outside of Miami is packed with hometown references, including turquoise wallpaper, succulents shooting out of alpaca-shaped pots, and oversized woven lanterns. Status: Certified open. 4121 Wilson Boulevard; website.
TYSONS CORNER — Room7 lounge recently popped up in the basement of Tysons Biergarten, bringing nearby shoppers a speakeasy by day that turns into a club with bottle service by night. Along with craft cocktails, there are more than 80 whiskeys and 50 beers. The dimly-lit space, accented with artistic odes to gambling and colorful plush couches, plans to play host to a range of DJs and dance parties. Status: Certified open. 8346 Leesburg Pike; website.
PETWORTH — Cinder Barbecue opened in the former Ruta del Vino wine bar space in Petworth, bringing the neighborhood 15-hour smoked brisket and 100 whiskeys served from its square-shaped bar. Cinder showcases Texas-style brisket, Southeastern-style pulled pork, and more smoked meats from roving pitmaster Bill Coleman. Vegetarians can opt for a roasted cauliflower entree with brown butter, pumpkin seeds, cilantro, and lime. Status: Certified open. 800 Upshur Street NW; website.
LOGAN CIRCLE—Retro arcade bar Players’ Club just grew up with the addition of a sporty rooftop venue dubbed Skybox, featuring with sky high views of surrounding Logan Circle and Thomas Circle. Customers can follow red-lit “Skybox” signage inside Players Club to access the rooftop via an elevator. Along with ciders and wines, its short list of $13 cocktails includes the “Red Hot Chili Pineapple Batida” (tequila, pineapple, chili pepper, milk, and nutmeg) and a spiced mojito. The drinks are served in super cold tin cups. The indoor-outdoor bar features colorful bench seating and plenty of heat lamps. Status: Scheduled to open at 4 p.m. 1400 14th Street NW; website.
April 8, 2019
NAVY YARD — Nicoletta Pizzeria, the New York-based chain from James Beard Award-winning chef Michael White, opened its inaugural D.C. kiosk next to sister spot Osteria Morini over the weekend. The 45-seat waterfront setup replaces Morini’s satellite food and drink stand, Morini Piccolo. Nicoletta serves five signature pizzas ($17-$22). To mark its long-awaited arrival, its “National Treasure” pizza of the month features chicken slathered in D.C.’s iconic mumbo sauce, alongside provolone cheese, bianca sauce, and scallions ($20). The one-page menu (below) also features salads, arancini, wings, and a short drink list (beer, wine, $10 frozen negronis). Status: Certified open daily at 4 p.m. (and weekends at noon), with delivery coming soon. 301 Water Street SE; website.
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DUPONT CIRCLE — The hospitality team behind Shaw’s Tavern and 801 has unveiled a new neighborhood bistro called Northside Tavern. The opening menu (below) features avocado toast, local burrata, burgers, flatbreads, fried chickpeas, and charred asparagus. The space got a bright and modern refresh from its former life as Maddy’s, complete with marble tables, sunflowers at every seat, and a whitewashed bar. Prices are pretty reasonable for Dupont Circle; cocktails run $9-$11 and bar snacks ($3-$7) are a dollar off during weekday happy hour 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Status: Certified open. 1726 Connecticut Avenue NW; website.
NS DinnerMenu (1) by on Scribd
NORTHEAST — Southern Italian street food spot Stellina Pizzeria just brought patiently fermented pizza crusts, battered swordfish panini, and house-made pasta to the up-and-coming Union Market neighborhood. The splashy red-and-white tiled arrival comes from chef Matteo Venini and restaurateur Antonio Matarazzo, who previously worked together at local sit-down Italian chain Lupo Verde. Status: Certified open. 399 Morse Street NE; website.
NORTH BETHESDA—Fast-casual patty chain BurgerFi just opened its fourth area location inside the Pike & Rose complex. Along with all-natural burgers, the menu also stars hand-cut fries and onion rings, veggie burgers, chicken sandwiches, craft beers, and frozen custard. Its latest tech-savvy location features a new self-service kiosks that uses facial recognition technology to remember patrons and their past orders. The brand is big on going green, with tables and chairs made from reused milk jugs and Coca Cola bottles. The growing company plans to plant 20 new locations across the country this year alone. Status: Certified open for lunch and dinner. 11881 Grand Park Avenue, North Bethesda, Maryland; website.
March 29, 2019
GEORGETOWN—Charcoal Town, U Street’s stop for shawarma cooked over charcoal, unveiled a second D.C. location near the Georgetown waterfront on Thursday, March 28. To celebrate its first weekend in business, the Middle Eastern eatery is giving away free shawarma from 6 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, March 30. Its latest locale marks the addition of hookah service and a cozy patio area, lined with colorful pillows and fire pits. The short menu includes cold and hot drinks (no alcohol) and steak and chicken shawarma. Hours are super lengthy: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on weekdays and until 4 a.m. on weekends. Status: Certified open. 1027 31st Street NW; website.
BALLSTON—It’s opening day for Sloppy Mama’s BBQ, bringing brisket and pulled pork sandwiches to Ballston Quarter’s new 300-seat food hall. The family-owned D.C. food truck and catering company will serve just lunch to start through Sunday, March 31. This week the sprawling dining destination also welcomed New York-style slice slinger Turu’s from Team Timber Pizza Co.; Ice Cream Jubilee’s fourth local location; Mi & Yu Noodle Bar; Hot Lola’s from Himitsu chef Kevin Tien; Spanish-themed sports bar Copa Kitchen & Bar; and Korean rice bowl maker Rice Crook from the creators of Bun’d Up at Union Market. Status: Certified open. 4238 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia; website.
GEORGETOWN—Homegrown roaster Compass Coffee started pouring at its tenth area location on Friday, March 29, reports Popville. The sleek setup fills the bones of the historic Georgetown theater, renovated with a modern design and D.C.-themed decor. The growing java brand also revealed plans this week to open at JBG’s West Half project landing near Nationals Park next year. Status: Certified open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. 1351 Wisconsin Avenue NW; website.
FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA—Adult playground Dave & Buster’s opened its fourth Virginia outpost this week, complete with 140 arcade games and dozens of TVs spread across nearly 40,000 square feet. Healthy offerings debuting at the new Fair Oaks Mall location include Impossible Burger patties, Zoodles, and grilled chicken and salmon, alongside splurges like a burger topped with three types of bacon and hefty helpings of nachos. Simply fruit juice makes its way into cocktails, alongside boozy punches and strawberry melon margaritas. A weekday happy hour (4 p.m. to 7 p.m.) slashes cocktail prices in half. This weekend for March Madness, 22-ounce lagers are $4. Status: Certified open. 11958 U Fair Oaks Shopping Center, Fairfax, Virginia; website.
CITY CENTER—Celebrity chef brothers Bryan and Michael Voltaggio’s ode to Chesapeake seafood, Estuary, opened on third floor of Hilton’s glitzy new Conrad hotel in CityCenterDC. The modern, marble-lined digs, centered around a theatrical open kitchen sporting a Ferrari red Molteni range, leans heavily on the decades-long relationships Bryan Voltaggio (Volt, Family Meal) has built with purveyors in the D.C. market. Artfully composed dishes offer new riffs on Maryland crab rolls, cod ramen, and lamb pastrami. Status: Certified open. 950 New York Avenue NW; website.
DUPONT CIRCLE—A quaint cocktail and wine bar called Ella Grace slid into the loft space above Sign of the Whale this month, and Barred in DC and WCP recently got a first taste. The guzzling perch serves a beer-free lineup of Champagne, cocktails built with Maker’s 46 and Basil Hayden’s, and a namesake gin-based Ella Grace with sparking rosé and thyme-infused simple syrup. Classics run $12 and $14, while a pricey boulevardier sets back drinkers $21. Grand opening specials through the weekend include free cheese plates. Status: Certified open. 1825 M Street NW; website.
March 20, 2019
BETHESDA—Fast-casual salad slinger Sweetgreen just opened its latest local location inside the budding Pike & Rose retail complex in North Bethesda. The cashless store, which is the homegrown company’s 92nd restaurant nationwide, is open 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. This month, Sweetgreen and nonprofit FoodCorps announced a national partnership to re-engineer the school cafeteria experience to give kids access to better nutrition. Status: Certified open. 11875 Grand Park Ave, North Bethesda, Maryland; website.
MOUNT VERNON TRIANGLE—La Betty, the new comfort food restaurant from the family behind Baked & Wired and A Baked Joint, quietly opened with a limited menu that integrates its dough at dinnertime. The opening lineup honors co-founder Teresa Velazquez’s German and Irish ancestry via deviled eggs, corn dogs (beef or veggie), panko-breaded chicken schnitzel, and currywurst with hand-cut fries. A sharable bread basket from A Baked Joint comes with sourdough, seeded wheat bread, Parker House rolls, and honey butter. Status: Certified open at 5 p.m. (closed Tuesday), with brunch coming this spring. 420 K Street NW; website.
CLARENDON—The ownership group behind Ambar opened its second multi-restaurant Mexican food complex this week, completely transforming the former La Tasca space. Despite sharing names with the contemporary-style Tacos, Tortas, and Tequila (TTT) and Buena Vida that opened in a two-story building in Silver Spring last year, the Northern Virginia locations have wholly different ambitions because of a whirlwind courtship between restaurateur Ivan Iricanin and Mexico City-based chef Gerardo Vázquez Lugo. Along with tableside Caesar salad service, showcasing a dish that was invented in Tijuana, Iricanin installed a spit roaster so the staff could slow-cook sides of lamb to make birria. Status: Certified open. 2900 Wilson Boulevard; website.
CHINATOWN—Little Sesame expanded with a second area shop, bringing its hit hummus bowls, pita sandwiches, and dairy-free soft serve to Chinatown. The first locale opened near the end of August last year in Dupont Circle. The latest sports a similar look and an identical menu of veggie-heavy, Israeli-style dishes. The new location near Capital One Arena operates from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. on weekdays, two hours later than the Dupont store to capitalize on crowds. Status: Certified open. 736 Sixth Street NW; website.
CHEVY CHASE—Sugar Fox, a quaint sweets shop from the owners of the Little Red Fox coffee shop, bakery, and market, just brought the same family-friendly strip a new option for ice cream, sheet cake, and cupcakes. Until the weather warms up, Sugar Fox will be open from noon to 9 p.m. on Thursday through Sunday. Status: Certified open. 5035 Connecticut Avenue NW; website.
PARK VIEW—Casual pizza parlor Sonny’s, from the team behind the next-door Colony Club coffee shop and bar, finally started slinging pies after months of teasing. Riffs on a square pizza feature a focaccia-like base that’s supposed to mimic what a Sicilian grandma would serve. Soft squares of bread bookend sandwiches stuffed with Italian cold cuts, chicken and eggplant Parmesan, or pork and beef meatballs. A separate bar called No Kisses, installed on the other side of the wall, will start serving this week. Status: Certified open. 3120 Georgia Avenue NW; website.
CLARENDON—Local chain Stone Hot Pizza, which has locations in Fairfax, Falls Church and Alexandria, debuted its latest area outpost in Clarendon. The restaurant features a rotating brick oven and serves pizza, sandwiches, calzones, pastas, wings, salads, and crepes. It also serves Middle Eastern fare like house-made hummus and zaa’tar pies. Status: Certified open. 3217 Washington Boulevard; website.
CHINATOWN—Virginia-based Arosto Pizza just fired up a D.C. location, bringing garlic knots, specialty pizzas, and sandwiches next to Capital One Arena. The family-owned restaurant’s original location opened four years ago in Dunn Loring, Virginia. Along with nearly 20 classic and specialty pies to choose from ($9.95-$11.95), there’s sandwiches, salads and chicken wings. The modern 59-seat space also serves beer and wine, and an outdoor seating area is scheduled to arrive later this spring. Status: Certified open. 705 Seventh Street NW; website.
March 11, 2019
BETHESDA—California chain Urban Plates ramped up its East Coast expansion today, opening a fast-casual cafeteria counter inside Westfield Montgomery Mall. That marks the third local location for the sustainability-driven chain. The first landed in Tysons Corner Galleria last summer, and another store arrived in Columbia, Maryland, soon after. The latest location offers salads, sandwiches, soups or stews, large plates, desserts, and beer and wine. The 4,600-square-foot site will also sport an exterior entrance. Two other shops are coming to Gaithersburg and Chevy Chase before the end of the year. Status: Certified open. 7101 Democracy Boulevard; website.
PENN QUARTER—D.C.’s second Boqueria brought Penn Quarter a taste of Barcelona’s modern tapas scene with lots of swaying palms, Ibérico ham carved at the entrance, and abstract artwork. The 164-seat stunner serves executive chef Marc Vidal’s best sellers — think seafood paella, patatas bravas, and boquerones — alongside a lineup of dishes exclusive to D.C. A thick marbled 24-seat bar — the brand’s biggest yet — is making Shishito margaritas, exclusively Spanish wine, and lots of sherries and sangrias. Status: Certified open. 777 Ninth Street NW; website.
CITY CENTER—Top Chef alums Bryan and Michael Voltaggio opened the anticipated Estuary at the new Conrad Hilton yesterday to a limited crowd of hotel guests only. The public can get a taste of its ceviches and puffer fish tails starting Friday, March 22, when the glitzy 360-room hotel officially opens. The super-modern hotel restaurant features lots of marble, wood tones, and pops of red lining the open kitchen. Status: Certified open (for hotel guests only). New York Avenue and 10th Street NW; website.
NORTHEAST—Red Bear Brewing Company just brought the NoMa neighborhood a 7,000-square-foot brewery and tap room that resembles a cavernous camping ground. Its opening lineup of 10 brews includes a Pacific Northwest-style Skookum Red Ale, a strong Twinsies double IPA (10% ABV), and a chocolate strawberry bock. Eventually, all 24 tap lines will be filled out by West Coast-style ales, ciders, and wine. Status: Certified open. 209 M Street NE; website.
March 8, 2019
SOUTHWEST — Falafel Inc. has opened its second D.C. location, bringing the waterfront strip in the Wharf development a new option for chickpea fritters and sides like za’atar fries and tabouli. Proceeds from the sandwiches and bowls ($3-$4) go toward feeding Middle Eastern refugees. The sleek counter, stocked with stacks of fresh garbanzo beans, comes from entrepreneur Ahmad Ashkar. The CEO and founder of the Hult Prize Foundation, a nonprofit that helps budding startups grow, opened the original Falafel Inc. two years ago in Georgetown. Status: Certified open. 1140 Maine Avenue SW; website.
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SHAW—Tin Shop’s TallBoy replaces the former Smoked & Stacked sandwich shop, giving the neighborhood a dressed-down bar for beer and late-night food. Although chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley left the shop to focus on running St. Anselm tavern, her pastrami lives on in a “Smoked & Stacked” Reuben that joins a concise line-up of grilled cheese sandwiches and baked chicken wings. The affordable arrival’s namesake 16-ounce cans start at $5, and the cheapest sandwich is $7. Status: Certified open. 1239 Ninth Street NW; website.
FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA—Mama Chang brings Northern Virginia a menu of “home-style” Chinese cooking from legendary former embassy chef Peter Chang that speaks to the way his family eats when women run the kitchen. The sprawling 8,000-square-foot restaurant plays up dishes from China’s central Hubei province that Chang’s mother would cook at home for his daughter, Lydia Chang, when her parents were busy feeding customers. Nahra Design Group, the same firm behind its Bethesda flagship, Q by Peter Chang, created a cozy vibe via wood-lined booths, plant life, white tiled walls, and loads of natural light. Status: Certified open on Friday, March 8. 3251 Old Lee Highway; website.
March 1, 2019
NAVY YARD—Él Bebe just brought Navy Yard a sleek and modern oasis for a la carte tacos, enchiladas, and burritos, outfitted with a colorful backdrop of funky graffiti art and jalapeno-hued booths. The 3,6000-square-foot airy respite encourages lots of drinking, with neon signage spelling out “tequila” as well as 50 tequila and mezcal options behind the bar. The Mexican eatery comes from Metropolitan Hospitality Group, which runs the local Circa chain (including the weeks-old one next door). Along with nine festive cocktails, find salads, mini empanadas, ceviche, dips, and nachos. Status: Certified open. 99 M Street SE; website.
FOGGY BOTTOM—Coast-to-coast chain North Italia opened its first D.C. location this week, bringing house-made pastas, pizzas, and tiramisu to the busy lawyer-lined corridor. The 6,000-square-foot sprawling eatery, featuring an exposed white ceiling and mirrors lined with leaves, offers a menu full of beef carpaccio, meatballs, bolognese, Tuscan kale salads, and chicken Parmesan. The dark wood-lined bar serves 11 whites and 18 reds by the glass, terzo (8-ounce pour), or bottle. The beer list, starring Italy’s iconic Peroni, is also big on local breweries. Status: Certified open seven days a week, with brunch debuting Saturday, March 2. 2112 Pennsylvania Avenue NW; website.
LINCOLN HEIGHTS—The Freshe Cafe just celebrated a grand opening inside Riverside Center. The 1,500-square-foot commercial kitchen and cafe is serving fish baskets, hand-cut fries, cheeseburgers, wings, and seafood platters (also available via food delivery apps like Grubhub). The cafe is one piece of Washington Parks and People’s community center, which also includes a bike repair station and an indoor growing garden home to 560 organic produce seedlings. Status: Certified open. 601 Division Avenue NE; website.
SHAW—Roy Boys is now open inside the Atlantic Plumbing building, granting the 9:30 Club neighborhood a neon-lit destination for fresh oysters and fried chicken dishes until late. Chef Will Sullivan is making five fried chicken sandwiches, hushpuppies, peel-and-eat shrimp, salads, and ice cream tacos to start, and booze makes its way into oyster shooters and daily bloody marys. Deals include 40-ounce bottles of wine for $5 at happy hour. Status: Certified open. 2108 8th Street NW; website.
DUPONT CIRCLE—Coast-to-coast cigar bar Casa de Montecristo made its D.C. debut this month, complete with craft cocktails designed to be paired with puffs. Montecristo (1132 19th Street NW) is lined with glass temperature-controlled humidifiers housing its star product. Cigars are priced at $7-$50 each. Along with bar bites, its opening lineup of 8 cocktails ($13-$22) list includes a boozy Sherlock’s Cocktail is filled with Macallan 12-year whiskey and Brugal 1888 rum. The lounge, renovated from its former life as Social Restaurant Group’s fire-themed Bonfire, also has an exclusive VIP area upstairs. Status: Open daily at 10 a.m. 1132 19th Street NW; website.
DUPONT CIRCLE—Hank’s Cocktail Bar re-opened this month, expanding the ambitions of the mixology lab formerly housed in an old church in Petworth. Its new digs above the original Hank’s Oyster Bar lets chef and restaurateur Jamie Leeds optimize the second-story space, now lined with animal heads and retro details. Program manager Hunter Douglas’ expansive drink menu features a “Market Fresh” section that incorporates celery shrub into a Hayman’s Old Tom gin and tonic and pairs jalapeno shrub with Talisker scotch. Raw bar items and snacks includes Old Bay fries, Eastern Shore crab dip, and a kosher hot dog with onion rings. Status: Certified open. 1624 Q Street NW; website.
February 13, 2019
U STREET—Brooklyn just delivered the neighborhood an eclectic one-stop shop for dinner, dancing, and bottle service under one roof. On the first floor, a 75-seat restaurant with sleek banquettes, cocktails served in etched high ball glasses, and personal pizzas parade out of its existing Marra Forni oven alongside a DJ booth. The menu also includes charcuterie and cheese plates, burgers, salads, mac and cheese, and steak frites. Upstairs, 10 tables alongside plush emerald green couches are equipped for popping Jay-Z’s Ace of Spades bottles ($1,000). Brooklyn replaces the two-level space formerly occupied by Nonna’s Kitchen and Alphonse. Status: Certified open daily at 5 p.m. 1212 U Street NW; website.
14TH STREET NW—Executive chef and co-owner Yuan Tang highlights seasonal vegetables, fruits, and herbs at Rooster & Owl — but don’t call it a vegetarian restaurant. The accountant-turned-NYC cook at Michelin-starred destination wants his new D.C. kitchen to be unconstrained by genres, with bites ranging from an opening snack of pineapple buns to a first-course option comprised of Carolina-style barbecue carrots coated in a dry rub. The $65-per-person menu gives diners a choice of four dishes on each of the four courses. Status: Certified open at 5 p.m. for dinner Tuesday through Saturday. 2436 14th Street NW; website.
NAVY YARD—Homegrown Metropolitan Hospitality Group opened its latest Circa outpost this month, bringing its familiar lineup of burgers, seasonal cocktails, and bulgogi lettuce wraps inside a modern and sleek atmosphere. With its arrival comes an exclusive Tropic Thunder IPA from Atlas Brew Works, now also available at Circa’s other locations (Chinatown, Clarendon, Foggy Bottom). Bites includes plates of Brussels sprouts with bacon and blue cheese, shrimp with sweet chili sauce and jicama slaw; a jambalaya medley of penne pasta, shrimp, chicken, and Andouille sausage; and tuna poke nachos working with wonton chips. Later this month, its neon-accented El Bebe tequila and taco bar will debut next door. Status: Certified open. 99 M Street SE; website.
DUPONT CIRCLE—Cigar bar chain Casa de Montecristo touched down in D.C. this week, boasting an opening lineup of 8 cocktails ($13-$22) with suggested tobacco pairings for each. Montecristo, which has 28 locations from coast to coast, slides into the space formerly occupied by Social Restaurant Group’s fire-themed Bonfire, which shuttered two years ago. Montecristo claims to boast the biggest cigar selection in the area, with 700 varieties ($7 to $50 each) that can be puffed on its patio. Status: Certified open. 1132 19th Street NW; website.
February 4, 2019
FOGGY BOTTOM—It’s opening day for prolific restaurateur Sam Fox’s inaugural D.C. outpost of Flower Child. The health food brand is in the midst of a large Beltway expansion and unveiled its first area location in Rockville last fall. The fast-casual salad shop, which falls under the Fox Restaurant Concepts umbrella, has about a dozen national locations, mostly in Arizona and Texas. Popular menu items include gluten free mac and cheese, vegan poke bowls with marinated beets, grass-fed steak wraps, kombucha on tap, wine and local beer, and fresh-squeezed juices. The latest locale, splashed with a “Good Goes Around” rainbow-colored mural, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner (8 a.m. to 9 p.m.). Two doors down, Fox is scheduled to debut his Drake-approved Italian restaurant North Italia on Wednesday, February 27. Status: Certified open. 2112 Pennsylvania Avenue NW; website.
January 31, 2019
SHAW—Long-delayed neighborhood bar Jake’s Tavern, a laid-back alternative to pretentious cocktail bars, finally got its liquor license this week and plans to start pouring tonight. The nautical-styled setup comes from Kristen Ciuba and her husband Todd Ciuba, a co-owner of 5-year-old Black Whiskey. Along with classic cocktails, there’s Miller Lite — Todd Ciuba’s favorite beer — house pilsner, Guinness, and Yuengling from 12 taps. Its full food menu, featuring soups from Prescription Chicken and Sloppy Mama’s pulled pork, won’t roll out until next week. But tonight there will frozen pies from another D.C. outfit: Eat Pizza. The bar can serve until 1:45 a.m. (and 2:45 a.m. Friday and Saturday). “But will see how it goes,” Ciuba tells Eater, of opening weekend hours. Status: Projected to open at 5 p.m. 1606 7th Street NW; website.
DUPONT CIRCLE—Chicago import Aloha Poke Co. opened its second area location this week, sliding into a space formerly occupied by Jamba Juice. Along with build-your-own Hawaiian bowls, the fast-casual arrival gives off warm weather vibes via bright colors and palm tree prints. Status: Certified open. 1333 19th Street NW; website.
TAKOMA PARK—Cielo Rojo is now open with heirloom corn from Oaxaca, plentiful vegetable options, and beer-braised carnitas made with Negro Modelo and oranges. The elegant taqueria comes from couple Carolina McCandless and Mexico City native David Perez, who met while working in San Francisco’s hyper-competitive Mexican culinary scene at vegan restaurant Gracias Madre. Expect meat-based guisados, or stews, such as pork carnitas or chicken in a black mole sauce, as options in tacos and quesadillas. Status: Certified open for dinner service. 7056 Carroll Avenue; website.
January 24, 2019
OLD TOWN—The team behind Arlington’s Grand Cru Wine Bar unveiled a new French restaurant and steakhouse called Bistro Sancerre. The opening dinner menu includes filet mignon, braised lamb shank, and North Atlantic salmon, along with starters like ricotta gnocchi, escargot, soups, and salads. Wines, beers, and cocktails round out the drinks list at the romantic respite, which includes patio seating near a fountain. Status: Certified open. 1725 Duke Street, Alexandria, Virginia; website.
DUPONT CIRCLE—Vegetarian chain Fruitive debuted a new Dupont Circle location with cold-pressed juices and acai bowls. The Virginia-based brand, which bills itself as the first certified organic fast-casual restaurant in North America, will roll out full hours on Friday, January 25 with free avocado toast and coffee at noon that day. Status: Certified open. 1330 Connecticut Avenue NW; website.
OLD TOWN—Colorful Oaxacan hotspot Urbano 116 is now open with masks and murals dedicated to Mexico’s theatrical professional wrestling pastime, lucha libre. The 160-seat venture, which features a neon-lit churros window and lots of tequila pours, comes from Common Plate Hospitality (Mason Social, Augie’s Mussel House, and Catch on the Ave). Chef Alam Méndez Florián, who hails from Mexico City’s vibrant dining scene, is making time-intensive moles, tacos, and ceviches for his first stateside gig. Status: Certified open for lunch and dinner. 116 King Street, Alexandria, Virginia; website.
H STREET—Baltimore-based Asian fusion restaurant the Red Boat slid into the space formerly occupied by Micho’s Lebanese Grill. Its first D.C. location brings the strip kimchi- and bulgogi-topped fries, lemongrass pork tacos, and more traditional Vietnamese dishes like pho and banh mi. It’s the fifth location for the Red Boat, which has four stores in Maryland (Baltimore, College Park, Glen Burnie) and another opening planned in Boca Raton, Florida. Status: Certified open. 500 H Street NE; website.
January 8, 2019
SHAW—Espita Mezcaleria just debuted a new casual counter for lunch. The Oaxacan-influenced restaurant takes on the temporary name Espita Lonchería during the midday meal, which translates to “snack bar” in Spanish. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., highlights from chef Robert Aikens’ dinner menu ($3-$12) include chorizo tacos, fried yuca with pasilla pepper crema, and churros with coconut ash and passionfruit caramel. Status: Certified open. 1250 9th Street NW; website.
DOWNTOWN—Greek-influenced Mazi slid into the space formerly occupied by Catch 15, offering downtown diners a new sit-down option for pork souvlaki, fried calamari, chicken or vegan kebabs, and vegetable pastas. Patrons can get 10 percent off their bill for January’s opening month. Status: Certified open. 518 K Street NW; website.
MOUNT VERNON TRIANGLE—Funky fast-casual chain Sol Mexican Grill opened its latest area location with tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and nachos for the 9-to-5 set. There’s other Sol sites in the Atlas District and Foggy Bottom. Status: Certified open. 655 K Street NW; website.
MOUNT VERNON TRIANGLE—Georgetown veggie kitchen Chaia opened its second airy area location, bringing its new D.C. neighborhood creamy kale and potato tacos, tortillas cooked on a large comal, sides like carrot-kohlrabi slaw, and the option to put taco fillings over grains. The 38-seat spot hopes to evolve into a bar at night with cocktails served until 10 p.m. daily. Its feminine and bohemian look features wood lanterns sourced from Mexico, dreamcatchers, and hand-stenciled flooring. A roomy kitchen can handle catering and large-scale orders. Status: Certified open. 615 Eye Street NW; website.