Whaley’s raw bar will close in Navy Yard this weekend after three-and-a-half years of shucking oysters and plating elaborate seafood towers on the banks of the Anacostia River.
Washington Post critic Tom Sietsema broke the news during his weekly chat on Wednesday, and co-owner Nick Wiseman confirmed the closure with Eater.
“We are excited to share that we are passing the reins at Whaley’s to our good friends and chefs Gerald Addison and Chris Morgan,” Wiseman says in a statement. The chefs have not yet shared details on the the joint project they’ll start after leaving Michelin-starred Maydan.
The closure comes as Wiseman and his cousin and business partner, David Wiseman, shift gears to focus on the growth of their cult-favorite hummus chain Little Sesame. Born out of Dupont Circle’s now-closed DGS Delicatessen, Little Sesame now has two locations (downtown and Chinatown) and is looking to add “a few” more next year.
“We are super excited about the response and now it’s a full-time commitment,” Wiseman says.
The cousins also operate restored rowhouse-turned-cocktail bar Hill Prince on H Street NE.
The Wisemans opened Whaley’s (301 Water Street SE) in May 2016. The sustainable-sourcing Mid-Atlantic seafood joint joined the Michelin Guide’s local Bib Gourmand list in 2019.
Chef Daniel Perron’s menu was big on shellfish, crudos, crab salad, and soft-shell crab, including small section of meat dishes. Whaley’s went outside of its wheelhouse last December, temporarily transforming into a Japanese hot pot spot serving shabu-shabu and tempura. The wintertime disguise came at a time when the waterfront development can feel much like an abandoned beach town (neighbor Osteria Morini lures customers out of their homes with $10 pasta on Mondays).
For the to-be-announced replacement restaurant sliding into Whaley’s, Addison and Morgan will be working with a historic industrial building that covers 1,800 square feet including a 22-seat central bar and 44-seat dining area. There’s also a small outdoor patio that doubled as a palm-filled Rosé Garden during warmer months.
Although Whaley’s will close to the public Sunday, it will take bookings for private holiday parties through December 31.
D.C. welcomes a new raw bar option this month with the arrival of King Street Oyster Bar in NoMa.