clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

9 D.C. Area Restaurant Openings to Get Excited About This Fall

Autumn brings on new options for modernist Colombian tasting menus, Japanese hot pot, steamed lamb tacos, Caribbean bar food, and more

Partners Matt Adler and Michael Babin inside the space that will hold Caruso’s Grocery.
Chef Matt Adler, left, and Neighborhood Restaurant Group owner Michael Babin are bringing a red sauce joint called Caruso’s Grocery to the new Roost food hall in Capitol Hill
Neighborhood Restaurant Group [official]

The novel coronavirus pandemic has throttled the D.C. restaurant industry for the past six months, forcing operators to navigate a dine-in ban that lasted from mid-March through late May and figure out how to modify their business models to prioritize takeout, delivery, and improvised sidewalk patios. The public health crisis has also inspired plenty of creative pop-ups. A recent pop of openings shows how several long-developing projects have come to fruition, providing a morsel of optimism. This fall will bring even more new eating and drinking options, from high-profile food hall vendors to taprooms and pop-ups graduating into full-fledged restaurants.

Here’s a look at the most anticipated restaurants expected to arrive over the next few months, including some holdovers from earlier this year:

The Roost

What: Neighborhood Restaurant Group is pulling from an array of local talent, and a few out-of-town friends, to open a food hall anchoring 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 parts — 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. Coffee and tea stand Cameo was the first piece to open this month. Shelter, Hi/Fi Taco, and Red Apron will all open later this week. Here’s what else is en route this fall:

  • Show Of Hands (low-ABV cocktails and wine)
  • State Fair (Frozen custard)
  • Leni (German/Swiss cafe)
  • AKO by KENAKI (sushi)
  • Caruso’s Grocery (red-sauce joint)
  • Slice Joint (pizza counter)

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

When: All vendors expect to open by Thanksgiving

*Previous Roost coverage

Taqueria Xochi

Cemitas from Taqueria Xochi
Cemitas from Taqueria Xochi
Gabe Hiatt/Eater D.C.

What: Chef Teresa Padilla and director of operations Geraldine Mendoza have found a standalone restaurant home on U Street NW for the Central Mexican pop-up they started after being laid off from their jobs at China Chilcano. In addition to the Puebla-style cemitas — fried cutlet sandwiches — and cheesy birria tacos that have become big sellers for the pop-up, Taqueria Xochi’s restaurant will experiment with breakfast tacos, tlayudas, tacos de canasta, and mixiotes, a steamed lamb taco similar to barbacoa.

Where: 924 U Street NW

When: Early October

Mosaico Street Food + Market

Mosaico will serve Colombian-style hot dogs topped with pineapple sauce and hard-boiled quail eggs
Mosaico will serve Colombian-style hot dogs topped with pineapple sauce and hard-boiled quail eggs
Mosaico [official]

What: Gabriela Febres and Ali Arellano, the partners behind Arepa Zone downtown, are opening a space in Latin American market La Cosecha that will sell perritos (hot dogs) topped with fried potato sticks in Venezuelan and Colombian styles. Mosaico will also sell cheesy, grilled meat sandwiches called pepitos, a limited selection of arepas, tequeños (fried cheese sticks), and cachitos (rolls) stuffed with ham and bacon. A retail operation will include frozen items, Venezuelan candies, “bean-to-bar” Venezuelan chocolate infused with CBD, and sweet wafers called obleas.

Where: La Cosecha, 1280 Fourth Street NE

When: Early October

El Cielo

What: Chef Juan Manuel Barrientos is making modernist Colombian cuisine out of Mid-Atlantic produce at his first East Coast restaurant, located inside La Cosecha. Barrientos is a big name in Colombia who has El Cielo locations in Medellín and Bogotá. He opened his first U.S. outpost in Miami a few years ago, but the latest iteration is the first locale in which he’ll source ingredients representing four distinct seasons. Ahead of its official debut in mid-October, the chef is offering four-course to-go packages ($49 per person) and teasing out the menu with tasting dinners ($138 for 15 courses; $195 for 25 courses) that include a bonsai-shaped “Tree of Life” yuca bread.

Where: La Cosecha, 1280 Fourth Street NE

When: Preview packages available now; Official opening mid-October

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
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

What: Chef Darren Norris, who founded well-regarded izakaya Kushi, returned to the D.C. scene this summer with the phased rollout of a three-piece Japanese complex inside the former Bourbon space in Adams Morgan. On the main floor, Shabu Plus will focus on Japanese hot pot, kaiseki small plates, and high-end sake pours. Along with daily sashimi, the opening menu will include day boat scallops, pickled prawn tartare. and lacquered duck noodles. In the basement, Shibuya Eatery slings Japanese street foods and yakitori skewers that get slow-cooked sous vide before hitting the grill. On the top level, dimly lit Death Punch Bar offers flower-filled cocktails.

Where: 2321 18th Street NW

When: Early October

*Previous Shabu coverage

Pennyroyal Station

What: The team that used to run Bar Pilar on 14th Street NW has shifted its attention to an all-day comfort food spot 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: Early October

*Previous Pennyroyal Station coverage

Other Half Brewing

Other Half, known for its wonderfully wacky can art, expands production to D.C. this fall.

What: The Brooklyn brewery that’s gained a cult following over the past six years for its hazy IPAs, lagers, and barrel-aged stouts is adding a taproom and production facility in Ivy City. The 5,000-square-foot indoor tasting area will offer 20 draft pours at a time. Alfresco drinkers will have 7,500 square feet of outdoor space to work with, between a patio with a covered pavilion and roof deck.

Where: Hecht Warehouse (1401 Okie Street NE)

When: Production starts in late September, with plans to offer curbside pickup and delivery options in October

*Previous Other Half coverage


Swizzler brings environmentally conscious versions of American cookout classics to Navy Yard this fall.
Swizzler/official photo

What: The popular food truck will open its first standalone store in Navy Yard, slinging spiral-cut hot dogs, grass-fed beef smashburgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, and fries close to Nationals Park. The restaurant, which replaces a former Taylor Gourmet shop, sits along a fast-casual row that counts Rasa, Chipotle, and Roti as tenants. Along with grilled chicken sandwiches and proprietary veggie burgers, dressed-down orders that let the meat shine include a simple cheeseburger and a Plain Jane hot dog. Designer Natalie Park (Anju, Dos Mamis, Gravitas) is overseeing a space that will be doused with the Swizzler food truck’s bright blue tones.

Where: 1259 First Street SE

When: Mid-October

*Previous Swizzler coverage

De Rhum Spot

What: Paul Yellin, who grew up in Barbados and was the executive chef at a resort in St. Lucia for four years, is opening a bar with a huge list of Caribbean rums in Columbia Heights. De Rhum Spot will offer a similar menu to Cane Rhum Bar, the Charleston, South Carolina, restaurant Yellin recently closed after a 4-year run. Street food representing several islands includes jerk chicken, stamp n go (saltfish fritters), ginger beer-braised pork, and a seared ahi tuna tower.

Where: 2827 Sherman Avenue NW

When: Mid-October

De Rhum Spot chef-owner Paul Yellin, center, will show off Caribbean cooking that was popular at his Charleston, South Carolina, bar, Cane
De Rhum Spot chef-owner Paul Yellin, center, will show off Caribbean cooking that was popular at his Charleston, South Carolina, bar, Cane
Erin Perkins/Eater Carolinas