Graffiato’s pizza oven will be back in business very soon. Mike Isabella’s seven-year-old flagship restaurant closed abruptly in 2018 in the midst of his sexual harassment lawsuit and rent-related issues. Now the team behind next-door neighbor Daikaya announces it will take over the space for a new restaurant serving Japanese-style pizza and pasta. The name here is very appropriate: Daikaya’s new adjacent sister restaurant will be called Tonari, which means neighbor.
“At first we were a bit hesitant in taking over the space next door but we were also concerned about who might become our neighbor,” says Yama Jewayni, partner at Daikaya Group, in a release. “In a sense, we really wanted to repurpose and recycle the restaurant and that’s how we arrived at wafu Italian pasta and pizza.”
The plan is to bring Japan’s “wafu” pasta and pizza to D.C. (“Wafu” refers to something that’s done in the “Japanese style,” per Eater, as in Japan’s take on Italian cuisine). For this fifth restaurant, Daikaya Group is keeping things authentic by sourcing ingredients for Japanese pizza dough from a flour mill in Sapporo. Pizza toppings will include tuna sashimi and clam and miso, while pasta will feature ingredients like uni.
Tonari is expected to open in Graffiato’s former space this winter.