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The 16 Most Anticipated Restaurants In D.C., Spring 2020

Incoming options for South American-style steaks, Japanese hot pot, Thai, Persian, and more

Competition winning beef ribs and yellow barbecue sauce from Huevos
Competition winning beef ribs and yellow barbecue sauce from Huevos Beachside BBQ

The coming spring around D.C. is full of major moves for some of the city’s most trusted restaurant brands.

Neighborhood Restaurant Group is preparing to open a food hall attached to a new luxury apartment building in Southeast. The Call Your Mother crew will soon their bagels out of a hotel restaurant and cafe counter with a South American theme in the West End. The group behind the Salt Line is opening a gigantic Louisiana-style restaurant downtown with cocktails from an award-winning New Orleans mixologist. Taco Bamba’s chef is bringing Ballston a Latin counter full of smoked meat and egg dishes. D.C. will welcome some big-time newcomers, too, with Navy Yard getting sweets from NYC baker, and Mt. Vernon Square getting a proven Persian restaurant from Atlanta.

Here’s a look at the most anticipated restaurants expected to arrive over the spring, including some biggies held over from the winter:

Neighborhood Restaurant Group beer director Greg Engert
NRG beer director Greg Engert will oversee 50 draft lines at the Shelter bar inside the Roost
NRG [official]

The Roost

What: Neighborhood Restaurant Group is pulling from an array of in-house talent and a few out-of-town friends to open a food hall that will anchor a luxury apartment building in Hill East. Pieces of it, like a Shelter bar with 50 tap lines that will serve foamy Czech lagers out of side-pull beer faucets, will be familiar to regulars at ChurchKey or the Sovereign. Other pieces — like an Italian-American pasta house, a New York slice joint, or an Alpine-style juice bar slinging grain bowls and breakfast schnitzel sandwiches — represent ventures with new partners. Every vendor in the following lineup will be part of the opening group:

  • Show Of Hands (low-ABV cocktails and wine)
  • Shelter (indoor-outdoor beer garden)
  • Cameo (coffee and tea)
  • State Fair (Frozen custard)
  • Hi/Fi Taco
  • Leni (Gerrman/Swiss cafe)
  • AKO by KENAKI (sushi)
  • Red Apron (butcher shop)
  • Caruso’s Grocery (red-sauce joint)
  • Slice Joint (pizza counter)

Where: 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, directly across from the Potomac Ave Metro stop

When: Late spring

*Previous Roost coverage

Mercy Me

What: The local hitmakers from Best New Restaurant honoree Call Your Mother deli and Timber Pizza are collaborating with one of D.C.’s other top hospitality couples to open a “sorta South American” venue that will attract their base to a new boutique hotel in the West End. Chef Johanna Hellrigl, most recently of Southeast Asian hot spot Doi Moi, is overseeing a butchering and aging program that brings in whole sides of beef from a regenerative farm in Virginia for steaks served with Argentine rock salt, chimichurri, and salsas. Grilled Roman pizza will be another selling point, and a counter-service cafe will sell breakfast sandwiches on Call Your Mother bagels. Beverage director Micah Wilder, Hellrigl’s husband, will come up with Caribbean cocktails and drinks to complement grazing in the vein of Argentine aperitivo culture. As if all that wasn’t enough, Pluma by Bluebird baker Camila Arango is making multiple varieties of alfajores, chocolate truffles, and shortbread cookies with guava filling.

Where: 1143 New Hampshire Avenue, inside YoursTruly (nee the Wink hotel)

When: April

*Previous Mercy Me coverage

Competition winning beef ribs and yellow barbecue sauce from Huevos
Competition winning beef ribs and yellow barbecue sauce from Huevos Beachside BBQ


What: Victor Albisu, the Mexican food mad scientist behind local chain Taco Bamba and essential sibling Poca Madre, is opening an all-day Latin counter in Ballston themed around eggs. A bright yellow barbecue sauce will be served on top of chicken al pastor and smoked beef ribs that just took first place at Guy Fieri’s barbecue competition at the South Beach Food & Wine Festival. Customers can also expect smoked brisket chilaquiles, bacon and cheese empanadas, and fried egg rolls stuffed with chorizo, cheese, and poblano chiles.

Where: 4000 Wilson Boulevard Suite C, Arlington, Virginia

When: Spring

*Previous Huevos coverage

Chef Eric Adjepong plates doubles from his incoming Union Market Stall
Chef Eric Adjepong plates doubles from his incoming Union Market Stall
Photo: Adedayo Kosoko

On the Double

What: D.C.-based “Top Chef” star Eric Adjepong is throwing his hat into the local restaurant market with an Afro-Caribbean roti stall that will sell flatbreads topped with chicken yassa, curry goat, and jollof rice in Union Market. Namesake doubles will incorporate pancetta, spiced Calypso sauce, and herby North African chermoula into the namesake Trinidadian fry breads made with cumin and turmeric and stuffed with spiced chickpeas and potatoes.

Where: Union Market

When: April/May

*Previous On the Double coverage

Mah-Ze-Dahr bakery’s Umber Ahmad, right, with investor Tom Colicchio.
Mah-Ze-Dahr bakery’s Umber Ahmad, right, with investor Tom Colicchio.
Mah-Ze-Dahr [official]


What: The KNEAD Hospitality + Design group (Succotash, Mi Vida, the Grill at the Wharf) is planting a massive, 300-seat American diner right by Nationals Park as part of a two-piece project that includes an all-day offshoot of powerhouse NYC bakery Mah-Ze-Dahr. The sweet shot will sell vanilla cream-filled brioche doughnuts, top-rated cheesecakes, and a gourmet granola made with rolled oats, dried cherries, and extra virgin olive oil.

Where: Half Street and N Street SW

When: April

*Previous Gatsby coverage

Salt Line chef Kyle Bailey will be exploring Cajun and Creole classics at Dauphine’s.
Salt Line [Official]


What: The massive Louisiana-style restaurant is a collaboration between the group that owns essential Navy Yard seafood house the Salt Line and the owner of the James Beard award-winning Cure cocktail bar in New Orleans. Salt Line chef Kyle Bailey plans to feature Cajun and Creole classics like fried boudin balls and gumbo. Neal Bodenheimer, who owns Cure, will oversee the cocktails. Located in the Midtown Center development downtown, the marble-filled interior will have room for 145 seats. An adjoining patio has an outdoor bar, fountain, and fire pit that will fit another 150.

In the same development, more delays for Masseria chef Nicholas Stefanelli’s Philotimo mean the long-awaited regional Greek restaurant is looking like a summer opening.

Where: The old Washington Post building on 15th and L Streets NW

When: Late spring

*Previous Dauphine’s coverage

A shabu shabu spread of Miyazaki strip loin, duck bone dashi, konbu dashi, seasonal mushrooms, daikon greens, napa, and soft tofu from Shabu Plus
A shabu shabu spread of Miyazaki strip loin, duck bone dashi, konbu dashi, seasonal mushrooms, daikon greens, napa, and soft tofu from Shabu Plus
Havar Espedal/Shabu Plus

Shabu Plus/Shibuya Eatery/Death Punch

What: Chef Darren Norris, founder of D.C.’s pioneering izakaya Kushi, is back on the scene with a three-piece Japanese complex inside the former Bourbon space. The main floor will focus on Japanese hot pot and kaiseki small plates at Shabu Plus. In the basement, Shibuya Eatery will sling bowls full of buckwheat soba or udon noodles typically sold by street vendors in Japan. On the top level, Death Punch Bar will offer yakitori skewers and bear a resemblance to Norris’s bar on 14th Street NW, Black Whiskey.

Where: 2321 18th Street NW

When: Late March

*Previous Shabu coverage

Carrot steak from Oyster Oyster
Carrot steak from Oyster Oyster
Oyster Oyster [official]

Oyster Oyster

What: The sustainability-focused, mollusk and mushroom restaurant from former Hazel chef Rob Rubba, Estadio owner Max Kuller, and bar manager Adam Bernbach plans to feature a four-course, multiple-choice tasting menu for $49. Expect 12 new dishes to swap in every two months. The plant-filled space is tucked next to a parking garage at Shaw’s City Market at O building. A 35-seat setup will is meant to encourage interaction between the kitchen staff and guests.

Where: 1440 Eighth Street NW

When: April

*Previous Oyster Oyster coverage

Review of the new Baan Thai menu at Tsunami Sushi & Lounge
Crispy egg noodles and curry from chef Jeeraporn Poksupthong
Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Baan Siam

What: Chef Jeeraporn Poksupthong and partner Tom Healy are opening a bigger, broader version of Baan Thai, the affordable standout for khao soi, tapioca dumplings, and pounded salads they closed in Logan Circle late last year. Relocating to Mt. Vernon Triangle got them a 150-seat space with a wood-burning oven, a new wok station, and 20 draft lines for an expanded beer menu.

Where: 425 Eye Street NW

When: Early spring

*Previous Baan Siam coverage

Rumi’s Kitchen

What: The chef-owner behind a couple of Persian restaurants that have become indispensable to the Atlanta area is expanding into D.C. with an outpost that joins a bustling development right by Mt. Vernon Square. Ali Mesghali serves up photogenic kebabs, kashk badenjoon (eggplant dip), and sabzi stew brimming with beef, herbs, kidney beans, and dried lime.

Where: 640 L Street NW

When: April

Smokin’ Pig

What: A long-awaited barbecue and bourbon joint is sliding into the narrow Atlas District space that used to be the Kitty’s Saloon dive bar. Pit master Shawn McWhirter, a veteran of Hill Country and DCity Smokehouse, plans to pays homage to various styles of barbecue by selling Texas brisket and Kansas City wings. Bin 1301 alum Lance Smith has come up with a bourbon-forward cocktail menu. The Southern-centric spot is also expected to serve barbecue-stuffed potatoes, whole turkey legs, and lots of beer.

Where: 1208 H Street NE

When: Late March

*Previous Smokin’ Pig coverage

A classic Cubano from Colada Shop
A classic Cubano from Colada Shop
Maya Oren/For Colada Shop

Colada Shop at the Wharf

What: The popular Cuban cafe’s third location marks its biggest space yet with 70 seats, including a patio. Group chef Mario monte is adding ropa vieja and a variety of Caribbean stews to an expanded menu, and food runners will deliver counter orders to customers’ tables. A separate bar slinging amaro-spiked pina coladas will be another change that helps free up the space, designed in collaboration with Los Angeles firm Design, Bitches.

Where: 10 Pearl Street SW

When: Late April/May

*Previous Colada Shop coverage

Hank & Mitzi’s

What: Restaurateur Jamie Leeds is rebooting Hank’s Pasta Bar, which closed for renovations last fall in Old Town Alexandria. At Hank & Mitzi’s, Leeds honors her parents with an Italian kitchen that focuses on pizza. Will Artley, an alum of Evening Star Café and Pizzeria Orso who was most recently cooking at short-lived English restaurant Scotts, comes on as executive chef. The one-time Chopped competitor also has experience cooking at the White House and Grist Mill Restaurant. Look for a new 80-seat rooftop patio to also debut in the spring.

Where: 600 Montgomery Street

When: May

*Previous Hank & Mitzi’s coverage

Pennyroyal Station

What: The team that used to run 14th Street NW mainstay Bar Pilar has shifted its attention to an all-day comfort food spot that will open after lengthy delays just across the Maryland border in Mount Rainier. Executive chef Jesse Miller’s menu will be big on crab and hearty dishes like fried chicken biscuits or manicotti. The refurbished 1920s-era property, which seats 73 inside, is a combination of two old buildings, including a historic bank. There are 60 seats on a patio facing where a trolley station used to be.

Where: 3310 Rhode Island Avenue, Mount Rainier, Maryland

When: April

*Previous Pennyroyal Station coverage

Lupo Pizzeria

What: The restaurateur behind the Lupo Verde group of respected Italian restaurants is adding a 50-seat Neapolitan pizzeria inside a former Taylor Gourmet on the 14th Street NW strip. Owner Med Lahlou (Station 4, Lupo Marino, Lupo Verde Osteria) plans to serve a dozen different pies cooked in a 900-degree gas oven. There will also be street snacks, whole roasted fish, steaks, desserts, and plenty of Italian wines.

Where: 1908 14th Street NW

When: March

*Previous Lupo Pizzeria coverage