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A New D.C. Location of Smashburger Will Bring Another Chain to Chinatown

Plus, D.C. restaurants expand their efforts to feed troops ahead of Inauguration Day

Smashburger is coming to a main artery in Chinatown.
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

Fast-casual hamburger chain Smashburger is returning to D.C. with a new location in Chinatown. The burger shop will replace Fado, an Irish pub that ended a 22-year run on Seventh Street NW last year, Rappopport listing broker Bill Dickinson says. That swap exemplifies fears across the hospitality industry that national brands will replace independent businesses diminished by the coronavirus crisis.

Smashburger, founded in Denver in 2007, has hundreds of locations sprinkled across the U.S. and Canada. The company briefly tried D.C. on for size in 2013 but pulled out a year later to focus on its Northern Virginia expansion. Its local presence includes locations in Arlington, Sterling, and Rockville. The 50-person space in Chinatown will take up half of the location (804 Seventh Street NW), with 2,200 square feet still up for grabs.

In other news ...

  • D.C. restaurants continue to expand their efforts to turn customer donations into meals for National Guard troops (and other first responders) who are in town for added security leading up to Inauguration Day. We the Pizza has organized drop-offs from more than 20 other businesses that get to bring some extra money into their kitchens. Chefs such as Spike Mendelsohn and Buttercream Bakeshop’s Tiffany MacIsaac have also offered some pushback to social media critics who are questioning the effort to feed well-funded military operations.
  • Northern Virginia’s taco-and-tequila scene has recently grown with the arrival of a new Bartaco at Ballston Quarter (4238 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington) and the opening of a second Tacorock restaurant, in Alexandria (6548 Little River Turnpike).
  • Schlow Restaurant Group has introduced a new dinnertime ghost kitchen called Georgetown Pizza that serves pies, wings, sandwiches, burgers, salads, and desserts available for pickup and delivery Glover Park Grill and Alta Strada. Chef Hamilton Johnson’s “Hamilton” pizza is topped with shredded short rib, ricotta, truffle honey, and herbs.
  • Local burger truck Swizzler has replaced CaliBurger as the new resident food vendor at outdoorNoMa bar Wundergarten. Grass-fed beef or veggie burgers can be ordered via QR code at drinkers’ tables (Wednesday through Sunday).
  • Brookland tea shop Calabash suffered an unfortunate break-in over the weekend.