Welcome to a.m. Intel, your bite-sized roundup of D.C. food and restaurant news. Tips are always welcome, drop them here.
H Street restaurant and bar Big Board is standing by its commitment to ignore D.C.’s vaccine and mask mandates. The H Street burger spot racked up enough violations that the owners must now appear in front of the D.C. liquor board, with the possibility of a liquor license suspension and worse on the table. A sympathetic Daily Caller correspondent started a GoFundMe page to help the rebellious restaurant pay fines and related fees. Over $12,000 had been raised my noon today. [Washingtonian]
Meanwhile, vaccine/mask mandate protesters stirred up trouble at a number of D.C. bars and restaurants over the weekend as the National Mall became the main hub for a “Defeat the Mandates” rally on Sunday. Union Pub came face-to-face with an unmasked “sit-in” while Old Ebbitt Grill employees summoned police after two unmasked women refused to put on masks and also refused to leave. Fare Well, the vegan restaurant that required vax cards even before the mandate, lost access to its entrance when 15 protestors blocked it. D.C.’s vaccine mandate for bars, restaurants, and other indoor venues went into effect on January 15. It requires patrons age 12 and over to show proof of at least one dose of the Covid vaccine. [Washingtonian]
A former bank is now home to Appalachian egg rolls
A former bank has a new life now that Vault & Cellar restaurant (7843 Main Street, Middletown) is stocking 115 bourbons to pair with its haute Appalachian dishes like egg rolls stuffed with pickled collard greens and served with bourbon-dill honey mustard sauce. Located in a former Depression-era bank in Middletown, Virginia, Vault & Cellar opens for dinner at 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Coffee and pastries sourced from nearby producers are served from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. those same days. [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Italian, Dominican, and Halal pizza spots all open soon
The former Mandalay restaurant space in Silver Spring will become Valenciana Wine Garden (930 Bonifant Street). Mandalay, known for exceptional condiments in addition to hit Burmese dishes since 2005, closed in October 2021. Meanwhile, Guavaberry Dominican restaurant is sliding into the space that was The Greek Place (8417 Georgia Avenue). [Source of the Spring]
Halal pizzeria Papa Deeno’s Pizza (4109 Columbia Pike) will open in in mid-to-late February on Columbia Pike in Arlington followed by another location in Chantilly later on. Owners Roxanne Mannan Sapon say their eight-year old daughter designed the family-owned cafe’s dripping pizza logo. [ARLnow.com]
Ashburn now has a go-to spot for fried alligator
Bourbon Bayou Kitchen (44184 Ashbrook Marketplace Plaza, Ashburn) is firing up Louisiana-inspired dishes like boudin balls, jambalaya, and fried alligator in Ashburn. The approximately 5,000-square foot restaurant is offering a partial menu until the grand opening on February 1. [The Burn]
A 17-year old Chinese restaurant will close next month
Hunan East Restaurant in the Reston area will close at the end of February after 17 years serving Chinese food at Fox Mill Shopping Center (2533 John Milton Drive, Herndon). The Covid pandemic increased takeout business, but the business said it “didn’t use assistance to restaurants adversely affected by the shutdowns,” according to RestonNow.com.
Alexandria’s Restaurant Depot is growing
Restaurant Depot, the membership-only big box warehouse store for the food service industry, is expanding its Alexandria location (4600 Eisenhower Avenue) with an additional 32,459-square feet once the city approves it. [ALXnow.com]