“I have decided to resign as executive chef of Hazel by Neighborhood Restaurant Group (NRG),” Rubba tells Eater in an email. A part of NRG for the past five years, Rubba previously worked at the local hospitality group’s now-defunct Arlington restaurant, Tallula.
“My time at Hazel and working for NRG has been a tremendous experience,” he says. “I am incredibly proud of our team, past and present, for all of their hard work, dedication and many accomplishments.” Since arriving on the local dining scene in 2016, Hazel has charmed armchair critics and professional reviewers alike with offerings ranging from zucchini bread bolstered by foie gras mousse to peanut-studded, five-spiced, glazed pork ribs and steamed dumplings gobbled up by the dozens during weekend brunch.
Hazel was named New Restaurant of the Year last summer during the local Rammy Awards. Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema gave it two-and-a-half stars in his 2016 Fall Dining Guide. NRG owner Michael Babin tells Eater he appreciates everything Rubba has contributed over the years.
“When I hired Rob as the executive chef of Tallula in 2014, we all immediately recognized his talent and were thrilled he instantly gelled with our group. Rob has done incredible work leading the kitchen at Hazel for almost two years, and I’m very proud of what we created together,” Babin says. “We wish him, Deb and his girls nothing but success and happiness.”
Rubba says he’ll do some traveling this summer — noting that he’s working with chef pals on “some exciting pop-ups around the country.” But he expects to return to the District soon enough.
“I love D.C. I have no plans on leaving,” Rubba says of his long-term goals. “I sincerely look forward to cooking for everyone again soon!”
- Here Are the 2017 Rammy Awards Winners [EDC]
- Watch: Making Hazel’s Creamy and Spicy Hybrid Pizza [EDC]
- Tom Sietsema Calls Hazel the Right Restaurant at the Right Time [EDC]
- Inside Hazel, Where It’s All About the Duck [EDC]
- Eat a Bunch of Duck Dishes at Rob Rubba’s Pop-Up Dinner [EDC]
- Tallula Is Closing, But the Chef Will Get a New Restaurant [EDC]