The Citi Open, D.C.’s marquee pro tennis tournament, returned to Rock Creek Park over the weekend after a hiatus in 2020. While Spanish star Rafael Nadal headlines the on-court action, a mix of local restaurants and vendors backed by celebrity chefs like Tom Colicchio and David Chang fill out a turf-lined tent known as Market Square. Mark Ein, who took over management of Citi Open in 2019, brought back Levy, the company behind the concessions for at Audi Field, FedEx Field, to manage food operations.
The second round continues through Thursday, August 5, and the tennis center will host play every day through Sunday, August 8. New vendors for 2021 include Root & Sprig, Colicchio’s new fast-casual spot that aims to cater to hospital workers and patients with options like bowls of tofu and Brussels sprouts. The budding chain opened its first location in July at the Children’s National in Takoma.
Fuku, Chang’s ghost kitchen for habanero-marinated fried chicken sandwiches, is another new addition. A “Match Point Sando,” stuffed with battered chicken tenders, kimchi slaw, “knockout sauce,” a pat of butter, and pickles on a potato bun, comes with jalapeno waffle fries. There’s also a Kids Kafe, with a short menu menu for children.
Returning vendors include Duke’s Grocery, dishing out its well-known proper burgers with an option for vegan Impossible patties. Dolcezza Gelato is selling coffee, and Ice Cream
Jubilee has stands sprinkled across the grounds that offer a Citi Open Caramel flavor. Oro Pizza, run by oven-builder Marra Forni, has a pizza oven covered in a tennis-ball patterned mosaic of tiles. José Andrés is expected to bring his Pepe food truck around, too.
A Chandon Garden Spritz Lounge on the other side of the grounds is now open to the public after appearing as a VIP space in 2019. At more than 8,000 square feet, it features two bars, lounge chairs, and a DJ who pops up at least twice a day. During a rain delay on the first Sunday of the tournament, fans turned the lounge into a dance floor. “It’s a clubby vibe with a DJ, music, a huge bar area, and great energy,” Ein says. Next to the upscale wine garden is a more relaxed beer garden run by Heineken, complete with foosball, cornhole, and table tennis. The two bars there serve beer, wine, and hard seltzer.
For cocktails, Ein brought Frederick, Maryland, distillery Butterfly Spirits, known for its lavender-hued vodka. Butterfly offers an elderflower-infused cocktail inside a VIP lounge and across various bars at the venue. Three Chord Bourbon also has a small stand at the base of the stadium across from Market Square, offering sips of three types of liquors. The popular Frosé Terrace on the second level of Center Court is also back, providing a patio that overlooks the Grandstand court.
Per the city’s reinstated mask mandate, Citi Open visitors must wear masks at the indoor spaces while they’re not eating or drinking. But “this is basically an entirely outdoor event,” Ein says.