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An Established Kenyan Restaurant Is Moving Into a Storied Location Downtown

Swahili Village will reportedly take over the space the housed Vidalia and Honeysuckle

The former dining room at Honeysuckle will soon be a destination for East African cuisine.
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Taste of Kenya downtown

The underground dining room that housed D.C. institutions for Southern cooking and Nordic experimentation will begin a new life as a Kenyan restaurant serving spiced, grilled beef, goat stew, and deep fried whole fish. Washington Business Journal reports that Swahili Village in Beltsville, Maryland, has taken over the lease at 1990 M Street NW, the former home of long-running Vidalia and Honeysuckle.

Over the years at Vidalia, owner Jeffrey Buben and RJ Cooper each won James Beard awards for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic. After closing in 2016, Vidalia transformed into Honeysuckle, Buben protege Hamilton Johnson’s venue for Nordic interpretations of his South Carolina roots. Honeysuckle closed in April, when Johnson told Eater the restaurant was having trouble generating enough traffic.

WBJ reports that the outpost of the East African restaurant will be dubbed Swahili Village: The Consulate, a reference to its targeted clientele of African diplomats. Chef-owner Kevin Onyona told the outlet that he hopes to open by October and he hopes former President Barack Obama will come sample the food. [WBJ]

New Indian in North Bethesda

The Pike & Rose complex in North Bethesda is still adding restaurants. The development that houses French-Mediterranean bistro Julii and Neighborhood Restaurant Group brewpub Owen’s Ordinary, among other places, recently welcomed a Northern Indian restaurant called Commonwealth Indian. Washingtonian reports that the restaurant comes from chef Sunil Bastola, who owns two locations of Bollywood Bistro in Northern Virginia. Commonwealth Indian draws influence from other cultures with items such as Maryland crab yellow curry, an Israeli salad side, and tamarind margaritas. [Washingtonian]

Kebab legend

Mike Daryoush, an Iranian immigrant who grew a fledgling Bethesda luncheonette into the thriving Moby Dick House of Kabob chain, died earlier this month of a heart attack. He was 66. The Washington Post published an obituary yesterday that covers how Daryoush grew the brand into 24 local locations while introducing many D.C. residents to Persian food. Eater D.C. profiled Daryoush as part of its “lifers” series in 2017. [WaPo]

Sushi in session

The Courthouse area of Arlington has a new option for Japanese food, ARLnow reports. Takeshi Sushi and Ramen recently opened at 2424 Wilson Boulevard with a chef showing off certificates from the Tokyo Sushi Academy. [ARLnow]


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