Welcome to a.m. Intel, your bite-sized roundup of D.C. food and restaurant news. Tips are always welcome, drop them here.
Inspired by the after-hour mahjong games his family and restaurant staff played at their Cantonese dim sum restaurant in Missouri while he was growing up, Bun’d Up chef Andrew Lo is opening Sparrow Room (1201 South Joyce Street, Arlington) today with business partner Scott Chung. The jade-hued, 40-seat parlor in the rear of Bun’d Up is a place to play mahjong while snacking on dim dum dishes like buoyant shrimp dumplings and sipping lively cocktails like the frozen Peacock Daiquiri. [Washingtonian]
A sophisticated new happy hour lands in Logan Circle
Logan Circle’s ultra-chic Dolce Vita (1610 14th Street NW) is debuting happy hour on February 1 with a menu of $10 meze bites like crab-stuffed piquillo peppers, spanakopita, and oven-baked sardines with harissa romesco. Specials on beer, wine, and cocktails range from $5 to $10. Happy hour will run weekdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
José Andrés’s portrait heads for the Smithsonian’s permanent collection
A portrait of superstar chef and humanitarian José Andrés will join those of Anthony Fauci, Marian Wright Edelman, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Ava DuVernay, and Clive Davis in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. All are recipients of the 2022 Portrait of a Nation award, which “recognizes extraordinary individuals who have made transformative contributions to the United States and its people across numerous fields of endeavor, ranging from the arts and sciences to sports and humanitarianism.” The portraits are part of the museum’s permanent collection and will be on display from November 10 through October 22, 2023. [Washingtonian]
Italian pasta meets Asian flavors at Piccoletto
Pogiboy chef Paolo Dungca is combining handmade Italian-style pastas with Asian flavors at his new counter service spot Piccoletto (1110 Vermont Avenue NW) which shares a kitchen with Pogiboy at downtown DC food hall the Block. A peanut butter tagliatelle joins chile crisps and sesame seeds while a spicy pork rigatoni brings Chinese sausage to the party. All pastas are $9 and under. The official opening is February 2. [Washingtonian]
Road blocks are removed for As You Are Bar’s liquor license
As You Are Bar, a queer bar, cafe, and dance venue planned for Barracks Row, is racing toward a March opening now that Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6B members have unanimously decided not to protest the business’s liquor license. Owners Jo McDaniel and Rach Pike made some concessions, like limiting the open dance floor times to Friday and Saturday nights, after a tense January 6 meeting with ANC 6B’s Alcohol Beverage Control Committee over the liquor license. [Washington City Paper]
Here’s how to support Mintwood Place employee just diagnosed with leukemia
Elmer Calles, Mintwood Place member of the kitchen team, has been diagnosed with CML leukemia, a rare cancer of the bone marrow with promising treatment options. Mintwood Place (1813 Columbia Road, NW) has organized a GoFundMe campaign to help offset medical costs. This news follows the November death of another Mintwood employee, Nina Larson, the 24-year old who was struck by a car and killed directly in front of the restaurant. [EaterWire]
It’s never a bad time for brunch or donuts
Bubble Mochi (107 Maple Avenue West) is bringing bright donuts made of chewy glutinous rice dough, plus bubble tea, yogurt smoothies, coffee, and more to Vienna. It’s taking the spot of Gem Tea, a cafe that served bubble milk tea and Asian street food. Bubble Mochi is open now, but an official opening is in the works for February. Current hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. [Tysons Reporter]
An all-day brunch cafe is sliding into the 3,000-square foot space that was formerly Charlie’s on the Avenue (1501 Mount Vernon Avenue) in Del Rey. Matt & Tony’s will open with steak and eggs, chicken and waffles, and shrimp and grits this spring. Charlie’s closed its doors in February 2020 after less than two years in business. [ALXnow.com]
Meanwhile, there’s no sign of the Tatte bakery expansion slowing down. A new Tatte (250 Massachusetts Avenue, NW) at Capitol Hill Crossing swings open February 2, according to PoPville.com. First opened by pastry chef Tzurit Or in 2007 in Boston, the popular bakery has been quickly replicating thanks to help from a $300 million fund created by Panera Bread founder Ron Shaich.
Foxtrot gourmet kitchen chain expands its roots in the D.C. area
Chicago-based gourmet market chain Foxtrot is opening a 14,000-square foot commissary kitchen in the industrial space that currently houses of Curative Inc. Covid-19 testing center (3300 New York Avenu NE). Curative is vacating the space in a few months. Foxtrot already has locations in Georgetown, Mount Vernon Triangle, and Dupont Circle, with plans to open near Logan Circle and in Old Town Alexandria soon. [Washington Business Journal]