Welcome to a.m. Intel, your bite-sized roundup of D.C. food and restaurant news. Tips are always welcome, drop them here.
Iconic D.C. seafood hub Captain White’s Seafood has pulled up its anchor at the Wharf, capping a half century of selling cooked and raw seafood there. The seafood purveyor will operate out of some smaller barges that remain at the Wharf’s Municipal Fish Market for the moment. Even those outlets will disappear shortly after Thanksgiving. The news comes following a rent dispute between Captain White’s and Hoffman-Madison, the developer at the Wharf. The owners at Captain White’s say they’ll try to relocate the beloved seafood stall.
“It was not by choice that we are leaving The Wharf but Captain White’s will continue On in a place that is more accessible and customer friendly,” the seafood stall posted on Facebook earlier today.
Dating back to 1805, the Municipal Fish Market claims to be the oldest continuously operating open-air fish market in the U.S. Jesse Taylor Seafood will remain open there. [ABC7]
The fallout over Navy Yard Popeyes viral rat video continues
After a TikTok video of rats running wild at the Popeyes in Navy Yard went viral this week, health department officials quickly swooped in and temporarily slammed the doors shut at the fried chicken outlet, citing a number of health code violations.
Popeyes officials have made that closure more permanent by terminating the franchise agreement with the restaurant’s operator. The Popeyes sign has been removed as well. [The Washingtonian]
Meanwhile, the Ricardo Land, the chicken delivery guy who exposed the infestation, says he’s lost his job over it. He set up a GoFundMe that has already brought in more than $26,000.
HQ2 retail begins to take shape with coffee and wine
Virginia-born RĀKO Coffee signed a lease this week at HQ2, the Amazon headquarters taking root in Arlington with 140,000-square feet of open-to-the-public retail space. The new RĀKO will include espresso beverages; a natural wines program from women winemakers, owners, and growers; craft cocktails, and light bites.
Supply chain problems
Covid ran the restaurant industry through the wringer and supply chain problems mean that tough times are hanging around for a while. From the skyrocketing price of chicken wings to how much longer it takes to open a restaurant when equipment just won’t arrive, here’s what’s stressing out restaurant owners and chefs right now. [Washingtonian]
Chinatown’s getting a customizable burger bar
Eat Brgz, the fledgling fast-casual that bills itself as America’s first “mix-in burger” bar, will open its second D.C. location inside the former Legal Sea Foods space next spring (704 7th Street NW), reports Washington City Paper. Diners customize their burgers by picking a core protein (100-percent black angus beef from Roseda Farms, chicken, or veggie) and an assortment of ingredients to cook into the patty. Other items imported from the 2-year-old original on Capitol Hill include Brussels sprouts, fries, and protein-packed milkshakes, plus wine, beer, and cocktails on tap. The Capital One Arena neighborhood recently welcomed an outpost of mega chain Smashburger. [WCP]
Bar Rescue’s Jon Taffer is unleashing his tavern chain in D.C.
Taffer’s Tavern is swinging open in the D.C. area with two locations debuting in airports soon. Meanwhile, Bar Rescue’s Jon Taffer is also plotting a full-service eatery in the Penn Quarter neighborhood, adjacent to the Capital One Arena in downtown D.C. Drink offerings at existing locations of Taffer’s Tavern include a pretty standard list of beer and wine, as well as cocktails with names like “berry impressive” and “wonderful mojito.” Food includes burgers, salads, flatbreads, and soups. [EaterWire]
Restaurant chain Cava is leaning into catering
Cava, the quick-service Mediterranean restaurant that started in the D.C. area and has subsequently spread across the country, will debut catering in Tysons early next year with hopes to bring bites like salmon kabobs to office parties, sports events, and more. It’ll be the first Cava catering location in the D.C. area. Cava debuted its first catering kitchen near Bryant Bark in NYC on Monday. Cava’s restaurant group also owns Zoe’s Kitchen. [Washington Business Journal]