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The Wharf’s Upscale Nara-Ya Debuts a Quick-Serve Japanese Counter Out Front

Plus, Sports & Social debuts in North Bethesda the same day as NFL’s 2021 season opener

Yatai brings steamed buns and other Japanese snacks to the Wharf.
Yatai/official photo
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

High-end Japanese sushi spot Nara-Ya quietly added a fast-casual counterpart out front with the opening of Yatai (980 Wharf Street SW). The standalone storefront debuted over the weekend with a rotating selection of steamed buns, dumplings, sushi rolls, and other grab-and-go items with a Nara-Ya twist, priced $8-$13. Hours to start are Wednesday to Friday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and weekends from noon to 10 p.m. The casual menu represents a dressed-down departure from the gorgeous “neo-traditional” Japanese plates that chef Lucas Irwin presents in a maximalist setting up above.

In other news...

  • After a year-long hiatus, the annual Rammy Awards are back at its usual location at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center with an expected stipulation. The black tie gala on Sunday, September 19, considered the hyperlocal Oscars of the DMV food world, will require attendees to be vaccinated this year.
  • Sports & Social, the crush-fueled replacement to the closed and cavernous Del Frisco’s outpost at North Bethesda’s Pike & Rose complex, will debut the same day as NFL’s 2021 season opener on Thursday, September 9. Sports & Social opened its first Maryland location at Live! Casino & Hotel earlier this year.
Sports & Social [rendering]
  • Espita chef Robert Aikens’s Ghostburger pop-up turns one on Wednesday, August 25, and to celebrate, the first 50 guests get a free pork and rabe sandwich with any purchase. The now-permanent fixture in Shaw operates for weekday lunch starting at 11:30 a.m.
  • Your Only Friend, Columbia Room’s popular sandwich pop-up born during the pandemic, will close up shop at the end of the week. Co-founder Paul Taylor plans to open a brick-and-mortar location in early 2022.
  • Downtown’s New Orleans-themed Dauphine’s just debuted happy hour (5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.) with $6 snacks, $2 oysters, $10 cocktails, and $5 beers, available inside and across its newly opened outdoor bar.