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Scott Bennett, ‘Adams Morgan Legend’ and Amsterdam Falafelshop Founder, Dies at 70

Plus, Pizzeria Paradiso is changing its business model; people stole signs from Jane Jane and SpacyCloud; and more essential D.C. dining intel

Amsterdam FalafelShop owner Scott Bennett
Amsterdam FalafelShop owner Scott Bennett died January 13, 2022 after a battle with Covid-19.
Scott Bennett/Facebook

Welcome to a.m. Intel, your bite-sized roundup of D.C. food and restaurant news. Tips are always welcome, drop them here.

The gregarious, “larger-than-lifeAmsterdam Falafelshop (2425 18th Street, NW) owner Scott Bennett, died January 13 after spending a month at George Washington University Hospital battling Covid-19. He was 70 years old. Bennett was “double-vaxxed and boosted,” son-in-law Rep DeLoach said.

Bennett and his wife Arianne Bennett opened Amsterdam Falafelshop in Adams Morgan in 2004. Bennett became a well-loved Adams Morgan fixture with his friendly personality and a tendency to introduce people to each other. A Facebook tribute posted by Bennett’s family asks, “How many people do I know because of Scott?” Those who have commented on the post have called him a legend, D.C.’s original bohemian, kind, genuine, and one-of-a-kind. His family posted the following on his Facebook page with a request for those who knew him to comment with memories:

It’s a sign, and now it’s gone

Someone stole the Instagram-famous, cross-stitched “don’t do coke in the bathroom” sign from Logan Circle’s Jane Jane. While disappointed, the owners are taking it in stride asking for ideas for a cheeky line as a replacement. The person with the winning submission scores a $200 bar tab and gets their submission embroidered on the replacement sign. If the thief thinks the sign is cool, Jane Jane co-owner Drew Porterfield stripped it of that when he suggested the phrase was starting to feel overdone anyway. No word on what the tab will be for the person who turns the culprit in. [Washington City Paper]

Meanwhile, a thief went to great lengths to jack a heavy sign suspended in chains outside of Adams Morgan’s edgy vegan/skater hangout SpacyCloud, and owner Tati Kolina is on a mission to get it back. Her 4-year-old shop’s sentimental sign, made of recycled metals by artist Tom Longobardi, was cut down and stolen some time between Wednesday night and Thursday at 6 p.m., when she discovered it was missing. DM Spacycloud on Instagram for potential leads on the sign’s whereabouts, she says. —T.P.

SpacyCloud’s 3-foot circular sign, hanging out front of the hip Adams Morgan shop since day one, was cut down and stolen last week.
SpacyCloud/official photo

Change of address

Hit Takoma Park Mexican restaurant Cielo Rojo is moving into a 3,500-square foot space at 7211 Carroll Avenue, just down the street from its current location. The owners of the two-year old restaurant will retain Cielo Rojo’s current spot to open San Pancho Burritos with counter service and a menu including San Francisco-style burritos, tortas, burrito bowls, salads, and dessert like chocoflan. Meanwhile, Cielo Rojo plans to expand its menu and beverage options at its new home. [Washington City Paper]

The Mosaic District’s Jinya Ramen is moving its slow-cooked ramen into a much larger, corner spot just a few doors down. The new Jinya will open in March at 4238 Wilson Boulevard with at least 180 seats, a large patio, and a Japanese whiskey lounge. Meanwhile, Maydān owners will open Tawle, a Middle Eastern eatery, in the former Jinya space by this summer. [The Washingtonian]

Water’s End Brewery (525 Caroline Street, Fredericksburg) is heading to downtown Fredericksburg with a 19,000-square foot brewery with room for a taproom, restaurant, dance floor, two bars, and an owner’s suite. Hot Chickn Kitchen will serve Nashville-style hot chicken in the restaurant space. No opening date is set. [Potomac Local News]

Pizzeria Paradiso is making big changes

After 30 years, Pizzeria Paradiso has chucked its business model in favor of paying hourly employees higher than standard minimum wage. Instead of tipping, a 20 percent service charge for dine-in service and a 12 percent service charge for takeout will be added to the bill. More details on the new business model are here. [Washington City Paper]

Coming attractions

NoVa’s Sisters Thai restaurant is opening its fifth location in Tyson’s Capital One Center at 7730 Capital One Tower Road in late 2022.

Shake Shack is coming to Pike 7 Plaza in Tysons at 8350 Leesburg Pike. It’ll have a drive-thru, but visitors have to order by phone beforehand. Additionally, the new Shake Shack will have indoor and outdoor seating. [Tysons Reporter]

Bethesda Bagels rolls its bagels into Rockville’s Fallsgrove Village Shopping Center (14955 Shady Grove Road, Rockville) this Friday as it opens its newest location for more than 20 types of bagels and more than 10 types of cream cheese, plus sandwiches, pizza bagels, and soups. It’ll be open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. [Bethesda Beat]

Aurora Market (500 Irving Street, NW) opened the retail portion (meats, cheese, pastries, and Wellfound prepared foods) of its business on Saturday with plans to debut sandwiches and coffee by this spring and indoor seating by this summer. Open hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday by appointment. []

Shake Shack

355 Assembly Row, , MA 02145 (617) 604-3025 Visit Website

Sisters Thai

4004 University Drive, , VA 22030 (703) 267-9619 Visit Website

Cielo Rojo Restaurante

7056 Carroll Avenue, , MD 20912 (301) 755-0833 Visit Website

Bethesda Bagels

4819 Bethesda Avenue, , MD 20814 (301) 652-8990 Visit Website

Pizzeria Paradiso

3282 M Street Northwest, , DC 20007 (202) 337-1245 Visit Website

Amsterdam Falafelshop

5835 Florida 986, , FL 33143 (786) 348-0541 Visit Website

Jane Jane

1705 14th Street Northwest, , DC 20009 (202) 481-2166 Visit Website