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The Most Anticipated Restaurants in D.C., Spring 2019

The hottest restaurants coming to the DMV

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Modern Italian eatery Via Sophia will open inside the Hamilton Hotel this spring along the same block as The Washington Post.
Hamilton Hotel/rendering
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

A sea of high-profile restaurants are scheduled to join the local dining scene in the coming months, including some biggies held over from the winter. Here’s a roster of the most anticipated openings coming down the pike.

La Betty

What: The family that owns Georgetown institution Baked & Wired is making a run at its first full-service restaurant. La Betty is next-door to A Baked Joint in Mount Vernon Triangle and will incorporate fresh bread from its sibling spot. Matriarch Teresa Velazquez is developing recipes that will draw from American comfort foods and her German-Irish heritage.

Where: 420 K Street NW

When: Mid-March

*Previous La Betty coverage

Punjab Grill

What: Delhi, India, native Karan Singh, who runs American Tandoor in Tysons Corner, is importing fine-dining brand Punjab Grill to D.C. Expect 40-foot stone walls, hand-carved wooden ceilings, and lots of brass and mosaic mirrored detailing across the 150-seat space, which will share the building with Central Michel Richard. Chef Jaspratap Bindra, an alum of high-end Indian resorts, will bring modern takes on Punjabi cuisine to the menu. Punjab Grill has locations across India and in Singapore, Abu Dhabi, and Bangkok.

Where: 427 11th Street NW

When: March

*No Detail Is Spared at the Opulent Punjab Grill Coming to D.C. This Fall [WCP]

Sugar Fox

What: Husband-wife duo Jena and Matt Carr of Little Red Fox cafe will debut a neighborhood ice cream shop and bakery in Forest Hills. Expect small batch ice cream by the scoop, milkshakes, cakes, and cupcakes made on-site.

Where: 5027 Connecticut Avenue NW

When: March

Sugar Fox
Sugar Fox/rendering

Little Sesame Chinatown

What: The airy fast-casual destination for fresh hummus bowls and pita sandwiches is expanding with a second location in Chinatown, this time with alcohol and extended weekend hours. Best sellers coming over from downtown will include its chicken shawarma bowl with herb tahini, pickled red onion, and oregano, as well as seasonal additions.

Where: 736 6th Street NW

When: March

Assorted offerings at Little Sesame.
Anna Meyer/Little Sesame

Dacha Navy Yard

What: Located adjacent to Nationals Park with views of the Anacostia River, Dacha’s second location will boast an expansive outdoor beer garden, lots of private event capabilities, and 150-seat indoor dining area. Taylor Burlingame, who succeeded Michael Rafidi as executive chef of the ill-fated Requin at the Wharf after working at Michael Mina’s RN74 in San Francisco, will oversee a menu that features more refined plates than the beer-friendly fare available for dinner in Shaw.

Where: 79 Potomac Avenue SE

When: Late March

*Previous Dacha coverage

Dacha Navy Yard
Dacha’s Navy Yard location will feature a more ambitious menu than the original beer garden in Shaw.
Jennifer Hughes/For Dacha

Bento by Tokyo Pearl

What: Stephanos Andreou, who owns Asian-Latin restaurant Sakerum on 14th Street NW, will bring this Japanese gastropub to Dupont Circle. The daytime side of the operation will sling fast-casual bento boxes with an online app to speed up ordering. At night there will be boozy bubble tea and a menu full of Japanese street foods such as bao buns. The lights and sound system, which will be used in a lively Tokyo-style lounge, come from the team behind nightclub guru Dave Grutman’s LIV and Story clubs in Miami. The //3877-designed space will feature 24 seats inside and 43 outside under an 800-square-foot patio with a retractable awning.

Where: 1301 Connecticut Avenue NW

When: Mid-April

*Previous Tokyo Pearl coverage [WCP]

Stephanos Andreou/Bento by Tokyo Pearl

Dirt Ballston

What: The Miami-based brand’s first location outside of its hometown will debut in the Ballston Exchange development. The trendy chain sells all-day breakfast dishes and toasts as well as salads, bowls, plates, smoothies, juices, vegan “mylkshakes”, and pastries. There’s also a full espresso bar and tea program. Guests order at the counter, but servers drop dishes off with real plates, silverware and linen napkins, with no self-bussing needed. Architecture and interiors firm //3877 is using industrial materials like concrete and blackened steel, alongside emerald green tones, white oak, maple, subway tiles, and oversized baskets hovering above. A sculptural neon sign spells out Dirt’s “Eat Clean, Talk Dirty” motto. The 33-seat spot also sports a grab-and-go window.

Where: 4121 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 102B, Arlington, Virginia

When: Late March/early April

Dirt Ballston

Seven Reasons

What: Venezuela native Enrique Limardo will import the flavors of his homeland at his first D.C. venture, scheduled to slide into the space formerly occupied by Piola. For the past five years Limardo was executive chef at Alma Cocina Latina in Baltimore, Maryland, scoring 3.5 stars from Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema. Seven Reasons will feature two chef’s tables next to the open kitchen, with 95 seats inside and a 35-seat summer garden opening later. Limardo studied gastronomy in the 1990s in Barcelona, going on to cook alongside Michelin-starred chefs like Joan Roca and Ramon Freixas and opening two acclaimed restaurants in Caracas, Venezuela.

Where: 2208 14th Street NW

When: April

Via Sophia and Society

What: Following a full lobby transformation and guest room refresh, the historic Hamilton Hotel will replace its 14K restaurant with a modern osteria and bar. Executive chef Colin Clark, formerly chef de cuisine at Fiola Mare, will lead the kitchen. Society, a library-themed bar inspired by secret societies and private clubs, will feature 14 seats and gourmet bar snacks.

Where: 1001 14th Street NW

When: Spring

*Previous Hamilton coverage

Hamilton’s new dimly-lit bar, accented by a bear rug and leather seating, will feature stacks of vintage books and intricate millwork moldings.
Hamilton Hotel/rendering


What: Kevin Tien, the chef behind the Japanese-inflected global plates at nationally recognized Himitsu, is opening a much larger restaurant at the Penn Eleven development near Eastern Market. The 100-seat venue will have an a la carte menu focusing on seasonal small plates along with rolling carts offering specials. Tien tells Eater he’s shooting to open by the end of May.

Where: 1101 Pennsylvania Avenue SE

When: Late Spring

*Previous Emilie’s coverage

Emilie’s will be located in the Penn Eleven development that includes a restored Frager’s Hardware.
Rendering/Penn Eleven

Cut by Wolfgang Puck

What: Wolfgang Puck’s elite steakhouse chain will land inside the glitzy Rosewood Hotel in Georgetown, replacing its American-themed Grill Room. Executive chef Andrew Skala clocked over a dozen years working in Puck’s kitchens at Spago, Las Vegas; Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air; and, most recently, at the Cut in the Four Seasons New York Downtown. In D.C. he plans to integrate local produce, seafood from the Chesapeake Bay, and wagyu beef from Virginia. Founded in Beverly Hills in 2006, Cut has since expanded to Las Vegas, New York, London, Singapore, Bahrain, and Doha.

Where: 1050 31st Street NW

When: Late Spring

*Previous Cut coverage


What: Bresca chef Ryan Ratino is opening an experimental kitchen that will churn out eight- to 11-course tasting dinners on the second floor above his modern bistro on 14th Street NW. The Michelin-starred chef is embarking upon a research trip to Japan to further his fermentation studies. He expects house vinegars, shoyu, and miso paste to aid a lineup of cured products like dry-aged dairy cow. An attached bar will offer a la carte dishes.

Where: 1906 14th Street NW

When: Late Spring

*Previous Jônt coverage

The following restaurants were projected to open in winter 2019 and are now shooting for spring opening dates:

Quarter Market Food Hall

What: The smartly curated 25,000-square-foot emporium, one of the biggest food halls in the area, will be packed with dining and drinking options from such as Turu’s by Timber Pizza Co., Cucina Al Volo, and Ice Cream Jubilee. Chefs from Gravitas and Himitsu are also opening counters for gourmet sandwiches and Sichuan hot chicken, respectively.

Where: Ballston Quarter development

When: Opening in phases starting in March

*Previous Quarter Market coverage


What: The Park View newcomer, from the owners of Colony Club next door, plans to bring square-shaped pies and re-imagined Italian-American classics to the neighborhood. The space has seating for 250 people and front and back patio areas, which will include a bar car and leafy palm trees. An adjoining bar and garden, dubbed No Kisses, is also part of the project.

Where: 3120 Georgia Avenue NW

When: March

*Previous Sonny’s coverage


What: The featured restaurant at Hilton’s splashy CityCenter hotel, the Conrad, comes from Top Chef alums Bryan and Michael Voltaggio. The brothers, who just celebrated the second anniversary of their eponymous steakhouse inside MGM National Harbor, are teaming up for a second time in D.C. with Estuary.

Where: New York Avenue and 10th Street NW

When: Mid-March

The super-modern Estuary hotel restaurant at Conrad features lots of marble, wood tones, and pops of red lining the open kitchen.


What: The next step in Washington’s Lao food movement, driven by chefs Seng Luangrath and Bobby Pradachith, her son, will be a casual hangout in Shaw. Named after a daring Buddhist monkey deity, Hanumanh will feature bold flavors currently being developed at the family’s first two restaurants, Thip Khao in Columbia Heights and Padaek in Falls Church. Recently opening Sen Khao restaurant in Tysons Galleria might have delayed the Shaw project.

Where: 1604 7th Street NW

When: Spring

*Previous Hanumanh coverage

Chop Shop Taco

What: Located in an old auto body shop inside the Madison Collective development, Chop Shop Taco will serve chopped meats roasted on a spit alongside nostalgic snacks, tacos, and Mexican barbecue. The industrial design will feature a full bar with agave-based spirits and a take-out window with around 50 seats. Chef and co-founder Ed McIntosh opened Pendleton Carryout Co in Alexandria last fall and was most recently working on a self-styled Mexican eatery Tortilladora.

Where: 727 North Henry Street, Alexandria, Va.

When: April/May

Chop Shop Taco/rendering

*Previous Chop Shop Taco coverage


What: Chef Peter Prime, who introduced D.C. to Caribbean-style barbecue at Spark in Bloomingdale, is opening his own spot focused on his native cuisine from Trinidad and Tobago. The 40-seat space, which slides into the building formerly occupied by Uni Bistro, will focus on roti rolls — South Asian-influenced Caribbean flatbreads stuffed with potato and meat curries. There will be jerk chicken wings, too, of course.

Where: 403 H Street NE

When: Mid-March

*Previous Cane coverage

TTT/Buena Vida

What: Restaurateur Ivan Iricanin (Ambar, Baba) is replacing the defunct La Tasca in Clarendon with the same pair of Mexican restaurants he brought to Silver Spring, Maryland, last spring: Tacos, Tortas and Tequila (TTT) and Buena Vida. The combo’s second location is expected to look and feel much like the original on the first two floors. The biggest departure is a third-story rooftop beer garden, called Up, which will come later.

Where: 2900 Wilson Boulevard, Clarendon, Virginia

When: Late March

Calabash Tea & Tonic

What: The 900-square-foot Brookland outpost of the Shaw tea shop will feature a large outdoor patio curated with medicinal plants and culinary herbs. Like its sister spot, there will be more than 50 organic tea blends based on founder Dr. Sunyatta Amen’s Cuban-Jamaican great-grandmother’s formulas. Also expect pour-over coffees, vegan brunch dishes, vegetarian snacks, and wellness-focused events.

Where: 2701 12th Street NE

When: April

*Previous Calabash coverage

Bandoola Bowl

What: The Southeast Asian salad stop will integrate flavors from Burma and surrounding countries at its debut Georgetown restaurant. Expect thinly chopped vegetables and shredded cabbage, as well as roasted, steamed, grilled, or lightly fried proteins. Toss-ins will include fried garlic and shallots, crispy yellow split peas, crunchy peanuts, and sesame seeds.

Where: 1069 Wisconsin Avenue NW

When: Early spring

*Previous Bandoola Bowl coverage

Stellina Pizzeria

What: Italian natives Antonio Matarazzo and Matteo Venini are teaming up to open a new “upscale casual” pizzeria near Union Market with a spin on traditional Neapolitan-style pies. Venini’s kitchen will be influenced by street foods found along the southern Italian coast, including fried seafood and veggies served in paper cones. Also expect pastas and sandwiches integrating pizza dough. A full bar will focus on Italian wines, beers, and craft cocktails.

Where: 399 Morse Street SE

When: Early spring

*Previous Stellina Pizzeria coverage


What: The fourth ramen shop from the experts behind Daikaya, Bantam King, and Haikan will bring traditional Sapporo-style noodle soup top Navy Yard, including some chilled ramen options. The 2,200-square-foot industrial space at the Boilermaker Building in the Yards development near Nationals Park will feature design nods to a pro baseball team in Sapporo, the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. Edit Lab at Streetsense is lining the walls with thousands of soup bowls and private ramen booths that carry their own shop themes. Hatoba, which means “dock,” will fit 50 inside and 30 outside.

Where: 300 Tingey Street SE #170

When: Late Spring/May

*Previous Hatoba coverage