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Kwame Onwuachi’s Gourmet Philly Cheesesteak Stall Is Closing in Union Market

The chef says he needs to direct his attention toward a new project

Philly cheesesteaks, wings, and fries from Philly Wing Fry
Philly cheesesteaks, wings, and fries from Philly Wing Fry
Philly Wing Fry/Official

The Philly Wing Fry stall in Union Market that sells 50-day dry-aged ribeye cheesesteaks designed by star D.C. chef Kwame Onwuachi will close next week, removing the fast-casual experiment from the “Top Chef” alum and James Beard award winner from the city, at least for now.

Philly Wing Fry announced on Instagram today that Wednesday, November 27, will be its last day of business. A message in the post teased that the shop “can’t wait to get back to making sandwiches in our own space.”

Onwuachi, the reigning James Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year, tells Washington City Paper that he’s focused on developing another full-service concept and ensuring that Kith/Kin, his high-end Afro-Caribbean restaurant at the Wharf, is running on all cylinders.

Philly Wing Fry first opened last year as a counter in a new Whole Foods in Southeast, but Onwuachi introduced a version of it at Union Market pop-up a few years ago. It opened a second presence in the massive Northeast food hall in December 2018, then closed in Whole Foods.

A blurb in Washingtonian’s Cheap Eats issue said Philly Wing Fry had “some of the city’s top sandwiches.” In an early review of a cheesesteak acquired at Whole Foods, Washington Post food writer Tim Carman wrote that the signature sandwich, dressed with smoked provolone and garlic mayo on a roll toasted in rendered beef fat, was “rich enough to stop time.”

“If a traditional Philly cheesesteak is heavy, then this is a collapsed sun sucking matter from all corners of the universe,” Carman writes. “There’s no reason for this sandwich to exist, but I’m so glad it does.”