José Andrés has become the latest big-name chef to shutter a D.C. restaurant during a novel coronavirus pandemic that has devastated the hospitality industry over the past three months.
America Eats Tavern, the venue from Andrés’s ThinkFoodGroup that showcased a hodgepodge of U.S. culinary history via pan-regional barbecue, crab cakes, and mac and cheese, has permanently closed the location it inhabited for two years in Georgetown. The restaurant, which began as a pop-up at Cafe Atlantico in 2011 and previously operated out of the Ritz-Carlton in Tysons Corner, announced the closure on social media Friday, June 26, after 5 p.m. A Facebook post says the company looks forward to “revisiting this concept in the future.”
ThinkFoodGroup sent Eater the following statement: “As many restaurateurs face tough choices for how to re-open and rebuild, we have had to review all of our real estate commitments to ensure we evolve with the changing business landscape in support of our guests and teams. We are deeply grateful to the incredible teams and the communities that have supported these restaurants.”
Andrés, who has expanded a global profile through disaster relief nonprofit World Central Kitchen and frequent criticism of President Donald Trump, joins a string of well-established chefs to terminate D.C. restaurants. Last week, James Beard award winner Spike Gjerde confirmed high-end Mid-Atlantic venue A Rake’s Progress would not reopen inside the Line hotel in Adams Morgan. Wolfgang Puck shut down the Source after 13 years in Penn Quarter in May. Around the same time, Northern Virginia native David Chang turned off the lights at Momofuku CCDC.
America Eats Tavern was one of several ThinkFoodGroup restaurants to adopt a community kitchen format geared toward providing affordable — and in some cases free — takeout meals. The restaurant paused that operation in May. World Central Kitchen’s takeover at Nationals Park has produced more than 500,000 community meals. A #ChefsForAmerica program has hired restaurants all over the country to make more than two million meals.
TFG is still operating Mediterranean small plates standout Zaytinya for takeout lamb shoulder feasts as well as indoor and outdoor dining in accordance with D.C.’s Phase 2 reopening guidelines. Jaleo, Andrés’s Spanish flagship, is running similar services in Penn Quarter and Crystal City. TFG’s other large Penn Quarter properties, Oyamel (Mexican) and China Chilcano (Peruvian), are temporarily closed. The company closed Fish in the MGM National Harbor casino in January.
TFG has also permanently closed the location of vegetarian-focused, casual counter Beefsteak in Bethesda’s Westfield Montgomery mall. Beefsteak has closed in Dupont, shifting operations to a Foggy Bottom location that’s set to reopen in early July.