Welcome to a.m. Intel, your bite-sized roundup of D.C. food and restaurant news. Tips are always welcome, drop them here.
Mayor Muriel Browser announced that a $49 million grant program called the Food Access Fund will help D.C. restaurants open locations in wards 7 and 8, areas bereft of many grocery and restaurant options.
The first seven recipients will divide $9 million to use toward building out a restaurant, paying rent, and hiring employees.
- DCity Smokehouse will open its lauded barbecue to Anacostia. Its signature is the DCity half-smoke covered in brisket chili, cheddar-jack cheese, onions, and mustard.
- Gourmet bakery Sweet Tooth will also open in Anacostia.
- HalfSmoke will bring its half-smokes and cocktails to two new locations at Skyland Town Center and Minnesota Avenue.
- Highlands Cafe will open a new spot in Penn Branch.
- MLK Deli plans to bring crab cakes and hearty sandwiches to a new location in Deanwood.
- Roots 657’s certified Master Chef Rich Rosendale will bring the cafe and market to Skyland with barbecue, burgers, and “pantry essentials.”
- Sala Thai will open in the Hill East neighborhood.
- Fresh Food Factory will bring healthy groceries to Keniworth. [DCist.com]
Redeye Night Market falls short of satisfying hungry crowds
In what was D.C.’s first open-air food festival of its kind, Redeye Night Market’s organizers, No King Collective, got a crash course in festival-planning after the massively popular Asian food festival left many excited attendees hungry and often angry.
Dozens of top Asian chefs and restaurants landed on a roped-off four block stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue NW on November 6 for the event. There were more than 50 food and drink vendors.
Hungry festival-goers tired of waiting in long lines flooded nearby restaurants, which reached capacity early and had to turn people away.
Many who arrived early enough to beat the crowds had very positive things to say on social media. [Washington City Paper]
Sterling is getting a gluten-free bakeshop
Rise Bakery (201 Davis Drive, Unit K, Sterling) is taking root in Sterling, Virginia. The completely gluten-free bakery opened first in D.C. location in Adams Morgan in November 2014. The Sterling location won’t have any seating and the menu doesn’t included items like pizza and paninis, but the full roster of bakery items is available, including the Sterling-exclusive cherry almond bear claw. The bakery is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. [NoVa Magazine]
Spin Ping Pong has re-opened in D.C.
Spin Ping Pong (1332 F Street NW) has unleashed its orange balls again, and ping pong fans can return to the D.C. location of the celebrity-backed ping pong club for matches, shishito peppers, tacos, and booze. [PoPville.com]
In other sports-related dining and drinking news, Copa Kitchen & Bar has closed its doors after two years in Ballston Quarter mall. The eatery was known as a place to watch soccer matches while snacking on Spanish tapas. [ARLnow.com]
Local restaurant chains are expanding
The first Virginia location of the fast-expanding Chiko network of eateries will swing open at the Village at Shirlington in Arlington (4040 Campbell Avenue, Arlington) on Wednesday, November 10. The Chinese-Korean cafe serves fried rice, dumplings, “orange-ish” chicken, soy-glazed brisket, and more. Chiko will serve dinner daily starting at 5 p.m. with plans to add lunch and brunch later this winter.
It’s the fifth Chiko location to open since 2017, when Chiko first opened its doors on Capitol Hill. [EaterWire]
Meanwhile Taco Bamba is aiming for national restaurant chain status. Parent company VA Taco Holdings LLC has partnered with Raleigh-based Investors Management Corp. (known for its work with Golden Corral) to add locations in D.C. and beyond. Taco Bamba, which started in 2013 in Falls Church, has grown to six locations since first opening. [Washington Business Journal]
Chocolates return to Pentagon City mall
Swiss chocolate shop Läderach replaced Godiva at Pentagon City mall, which closed earlier this year. It’s the second Läderach shop for the D.C. area, with the first at Union Station. Other new eateries at Pentagon City mall include Sante Mediterranean restaurant and Day & Night Cereal Bar. [ARLnow.com]