Welcome to a.m. Intel, your bite-sized roundup of D.C. food and restaurant news. Tips are always welcome, drop them here.
Real Housewives of New York star Luann de Lesseps (a.k.a. The Countess) bounced on her check Friday night after ordering a plentiful amount of Grey Goose and snacking on a seafood tower at Le Diplomate, chef Stephen Starr’s meticulously appointed and Biden-approved French cafe in Logan Circle. The Countess and her group grabbed their things and stepped out to smoke a cigarette, and then shocked staff by never coming back. By Monday, she had settled $500 tab with the restaurant and tipped 22% and called the whole thing “unfortunate misunderstanding.” [New York Magazine]
On the topic of unfortunate misunderstandings, D.C.’s Never Looked Better owner Seth McClelland apologized for his recent TikTok posts about how to order booze for the underage. He described his regrettable online commentary as a joke meant to pass time during the pandemic. [Fox5]
Ain’t no stoppin’ the champagne from poppin’
Some brands of bubbly, like Dom Pérignon, are in short supply this holiday season because of poor weather and disappointing harvests, glass shortages, and fewer truck drivers to transport the product. Take it as a glass half full moment and use it branch out into new (and possibly better) Champagne brands. [Washingtonian]
When Afghanistan fell, Bistro Aracosia (5100 MacArthur Boulevard, NW) founder Omar Masroor appointed women in his family to run that and all the other family restaurants. It’s an act of defiance, as the women hold positions of power they would be denied in their ancestral homeland. [Washington Post]
Work for it
Manifest (1807 Florida Avenue NW), the spiffy new barbershop/coffee spot/boutique/hidden bar, makes it lovely and easy to buy designer clothes, get a quality shave, and sip loose-leaf Aesthete Teas and coffee drinks from Black-owned Black Acres Roastery. Manifest makes it pretty hard to get your hands on a cocktail though. The dark 30-seat bar, Out of Office, is reservations-only. They can be made on the website through a hidden link. [Washingtonian]
Snazzy West Coast hot dog chain Dog Haus has unleashed even more gourmet hot dogs, sausages, burgers, and chicken sandwiches with its third Montgomery County location. It threw open its doors this week at 933 Ellsworth Drive in Silver Spring. Opening hours are Sunday through Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. [Bethesda Beat]
Sushi, Italian, and Thai food are all headed to Park Potomac in 2022. Yirasai Sushi will slip into the former Elevation Burger space by the end of March, while Gregorio’s Trattoria and Kruba Thai both swing open before the end of June. [Bethesda Beat]
Archer Hotel is taking over the former Hyatt House Falls Church/Merrifield and planning a flurry of renovations slated to debut in spring 2022. Among these is AKB, the hotel’s bar that will wake up as a coffee bar and go to bed each night as a boozy hotel bar. In addition to the cocktails, beer, and wine on the menu, the bar will highlight Virginia whiskeys. The hotel will remain open during the renovation process. It’s the second D.C. area hotel from the hotel mini-chain. [EaterWire]
Leave the cookies to the experts
Call Your Mother and Killa Cakes have teamed up with a sweet box of chocolatey confections with chocolate-dipped macaroons, black and white cookies, a mini babka muffin, and atomic brownies. It’s available starting December 20 online and in Call Your Mother stores.
Coronavirus kills another catering operation
Federal City Caterers, one of the greater Washington’s biggest caterers, filed for bankruptcy this month. According to the filing, the business’s income fell from $4.7 million in 2019 to about $780,500 last year, and it reported no income for 2021. Founded in 1994, critic Tom Sietsema once ranked Federal City as one of the D.C. area’s top caterers where “food tasted like that of a talented home cook.” It’s not the first catering business in the area to shut down because of the pandemic. [Washington Business Journal]