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3 New Fast-Casual Openings Sprinkle More Korean and Egyptian Dishes Around Town

Homegrown favorites Chiko, Fava Pot, and Seoulspice all unveil fresh locations this week

An aerial shot of colorful dishes from Seoulspice.
Seoulspice opens in Penn Quarter on Friday, November 12.
Scott Suchman/Seoulspice

D.C.’s strong fast-casual circuit welcomes a cluster of new storefronts this week serving Asian fusion (Chiko), Korean rice bowls (Seoulspice), and Egyptian street foods (Fava Pot).

Seoulspice unveils a sizable outpost in the heart of Penn Quarter on Friday, November 12, while Chiko plants its first flag in Virginia with a new Shirlington counter that starts service on Wednesday, November 10. Both plan to offer free dishes during opening day. Meanwhile, Union Market stall Fava Pot upped its visibility in D.C. with a Dupont shop on M Street NW on Monday, November 8.

The simultaneous timing of the quick-serve expansion spurt could suggest more D.C. office workers are back and looking for a bite. Here’s a closer look at each arrival:

Fava Pot

1817 M Street NW

The Egyptian kitchen that started as a Tysons Corner food truck in 2013 debuted a new location in Dupont Circle on Monday, November 8, in the former OKI Bowl space. Founder Dina Daniel brings downtown diners a fast-casual option for Cairo street foods like kofta sandwiches, kebab bowls, falafel, and its signature koshary — a mix of lentils, rice, pasta, and a spicy tomato sauce, topped with chickpeas and sweet caramelized onions. Open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fava Pot’s footprint also includes a full-service Falls Church restaurant and a Union Market stall.

Chiko

4040 Campbell Avenue, Arlington, Virginia

An aerial photo of different rice dishes at Chiko like soy-glazed brisket with egg, furikake butter, and steamed rice.
Chiko brings a medley of best sellers to Arlington this week.
Leading DC/Chiko

The casual Chinese-Korean counter that’s won lots of local accolades branches out with a fifth location — and first in Virginia — opening Wednesday, November 10, in Arlington’s Village at Shirlington. Fried Rice Collective founders Danny Lee, Scott Drewno, and Drew Kim debuted the brand on Capitol Hill in 2017, and subsequent outposts followed in Dupont Circle, Bethesda, and across the country in Encinitas, California. On opening day, the first 50 guests get a free order of dumplings personally prepared by Lee and Drewno in the 30-seat dining room. The 1,500-square-foot setup opens with familiar hits like “orange-ish” chicken, cumin lamb stir fry, charred siu pork fried rice, and double-fried chicken wings. Blueberry kaffir lime custard is a debut dessert unique to Shirlington. Open for daily for dinner at 5 p.m., with lunch and brunch entering the fold this winter. A new “Fried Rice Passport” promo encourages customers to collect carb stamps at each locale to redeem a $25 gift card.

Seoulspice

439 7th Street NW

The five-year-old homegrown chain centered around healthy Korean comfort foods opens location No. 5 on Friday, November 12, in Penn Quarter. The gluten-free menu resembles that of its NoMa flagship, featuring bibimbap bowls packed with purple or white rice, seaweed-rolled gimbap burritos it calls Korritos, japchae-style noodles made from sweet potato starch, kale salads, kimchi, and other original family recipes passed down to owner Eric Shin. Swing by on opening day for a free entree of choice. Daily hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The 2,000-square-foot space responds to a COVID-19 environment with open stadium seating, joining a fast-casual strip that’s home to Sweetgreen and Cava.

The Penn Quarter block continues to bulk up this fall with the opening of Bindaas Bowls and Rolls (415 Seventh Street NW), a casual offshoot of Ashok Bajaj’s Indian street foods spot serving chicken kathi rolls and masala popcorn.

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