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Leon, the British Chain That Claims a Healthier Brand of Fast Food, Closes Its U.S. Stores

Plus, Rooster & Owl brings back on-site dining this week

Leon, founded in London in 2004, expanded to D.C. in 2018.
Rey Lopez/Eater DC

Leon, the health-minded British fast food chain that expanded to the U.S. with its first D.C. store in 2018, has closed its American stores to focus on business back home. The 9-to-5 destination for “gut-friendly” fare like egg pots, avocado feta toast, vegan meatballs, and sweet potato falafel wraps quietly closed its DMV locations (two downtown, one in Fairfax’s Mosaic District) in early February. The plan is to re-enter the U.S. down the line, though likely not in the same spots, according to managing director Glenn​ Edwards. “It had been a tough 14 months as a new brand in a new country,”​ Edwards says. Pre-pandemic, an aggressive expansion plan included bringing 15 stores to the U.S. by the end of 2020. “The pandemic has had a devastating impact in both D.C. and also in London. We have to focus on survival,” CEO John​ Vincent tells Eater.

In other news...

  • On Tuesday, March 16, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., D.C. restaurant owners can head to lot 8A at RFK stadium and refill propane gas to warm up their chilly “streatery” setups. Each restaurant will get two 20-pound tanks on the house.
  • Acclaimed tasting plates place Rooster & Owl brings back on-site dining for the first time in a year on Friday, March 19. Its four-course comeback menu celebrates the bounty of spring by serving Napa cabbage with camembert and pepitas breadcrumb as well as a “beet quaillington” with prosciutto, oyster mushroom, and curry. Snag a seat indoors or outdoors. Takeout and delivery will continue on a limited basis.
  • Clarendon Pop-up Bar, Mike Bramson’s clubby, rotating replacement to Clarendon Ballroom, just flipped the switch on a Fireball-fueled “Fire & Ice” theme and expanded the party to its 5,000-square-foot rooftop over the weekend.
  • Also in Clarendon, vegan-friendly fixture Galaxy Hut vows to stick to takeout only until its staff is vaccinated, reports ArlNow.
  • Hotel Monaco Chinatown’s recently reopened Dirty Habit nabbed a new chef from South Beach. Edgar Escalante, formerly chef de cuisine at SLS Hotel’s scene-y Katsuya, starts Thursday, April 1.
  • Foxtrot, the tech-savvy grocery chain out of Chicago that stocks stores with local makers, will debut its second D.C. store in Mount Vernon Triangle on Monday, March 22.
  • Chef Richard Sandoval’s incoming Mexican bar at the base of strip club Cloakroom has a new name: dLeña (formerly Tequilaria), his team tells Eater.

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