Welcome to a.m. Intel, your bite-sized roundup of D.C. food and restaurant news. Tips are always welcome, drop them here.
“It’s not for the faint of heart or DC elitists, but there is nothing like late night Waffle House on the campaign trail,” North Carolina Senate hopeful and former Rep. Mark Walker proclaimed in a now-deleted tweet, tagging Governor Mike Huckabee. Lots of Twitter users were dumbfounded over what was on Walker’s plate: plain hashbrowns, hamburger steak, and plain toast. (According to Huckabee’s Twitter account, the governor dined at Waffle House, which he called “God’s gift to breakfast,” on January 29.) The entire thing is trending under #wafflegate on Twitter.
All Souls team finally announces opening for pizza shop
Little Grand D.C., the pizza and cocktail haven from the All Souls team, has finally set its opening date. It’ll open in an alleyway off H Street (808 7th Street NE) at the beginning of March. Little Grand D.C. was first announced back in 2018, with plans to mirror the beer, wine, and cocktail line-up that draws visitors to All Souls. The difference is the addition of food, namely square and round pizzas.
Crystal City gets Champagne and sugar boutique
A pocket-sized Champagne and sugar boutique will bring the bubbles along with cakes, treats, gifts, and other wines to Crystal City when it pops open towards the end of February, pending inspections. With just 800-square feet, the petite Beauty by Society Fair (576 23rd Street S) has 10 seats and a retail area alongside big plans to become the area’s go-to spot for an end-of-the-day glass of bubbles and a piece of cake. Restaurateurs Zena Polin and Meshelle Armstrong, of Hummingbird Bar & Kitchen in Old Town Alexandria, are behind the project. [ARLnow.com]
Unpretentious wines head for Ballston
Pirouette wine bar and restaurant will spin into the ground floor of Ballston’s J Sol apartments (4000 Fairfax Drive, Ballston) with a wines and a globetrotting menu of small plates like bluefish rillettes with housemade pickles and duck confit with fermented fruits, plus a few larger plates and desserts from chef Autumn Cline (previously of Rappahannock Oyster Bar and Rose’s Luxury in D.C.). Owners Philippe and Jackie Loustaunau are hoping to open this summer. [ARLnow.com]
Meanwhile, the taproom at DC Brau has reopened. The Northeast D.C. brewery had closed at the beginning of January, citing staff and guest safety concerns. Opening hours are Thursday from 12 to 4 p.m., Friday from 4 to 10 p.m., Saturday 12 to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 12 to 6 p.m.
New York taqueria first started to correct ‘bland burrito culture’ heads to D.C.
New York-based taco and burrito cafe Dos Toros Taqueria is opening its first D.C. outlets in Chinatown and the Capitol Hill by the end of this year. Started in 2009 by a couple Californians living in New York and hoping to correct its “bland burrito culture,” there are now over a dozen Dos Toros in New York, New Jersey, and Chicago. The Founders Table Restaurant Group, which also owns salad behemoth Chopt, acquired the chain a couple years ago. [Washington Business Journal]
Armed men break into Busboys and Poets
Three armed and hooded men allegedly broke into Busboys and Poets around closing time on Sunday night. Wielding a pistol and two rifles, the three men demanded money before fleeing in what appeared to be a Volvo, according to WUSA9. While that report alleges they fled with nothing, a WTOP report alleges they fled with “property.” Police are asking for help finding the culprits.
Little Sesame goes big with hummus production
Little Sesame has moved into giant new digs, with 10,000-square feet (8120 Cryden Way, Forestville, Maryland) in Prince George’s County. With their hummus already in Whole Foods, Little Sesame co-founders Nick Wiseman, Dave Wiseman, and Ronen Tenne are expanding distribution across the mid-Atlantic starting February 1.
Rockville trades Peruvian for pupusas
Salvadoran restaurant Pupuseria Mamá Emilia has opened in the spot that was recently vacated by La Limeña, which closed after 15 years at Rockville’s Ritchie Center (785 Rockville Pike Suite H, Rockville). [Store Reporter]
Chain news: Alamo Drafthouse, Tropical Smoothie, and YamaChen’s Sushi House
Arlington will finally get an Alamo Drafthouse, but it’s going to take a little longer. The Texas-based theater chain had been looking to open in Arlington for 10 years, finally signing a deal in 2017 for a nine-screen, 50,000-square foot spot in the Central District shopping plaza (1660 Crystal Drive), the same area as the Amazon Fresh. Because of supply chain issues, it’s now slated to open in the fall instead of the spring. [ARLnow.com]
A outlet of national chain, Tropical Smoothie, is moving into Monroe Street Market. The franchise, which specializes in smoothies, wraps, and salads, takes over the spot (716 Monroe St NE) that was previously Filter coffee house and Fox Loves Taco. Renovations are just getting started and no opening date has been set. [Brookland Bridge]
Vienna is getting a new sushi option at the Vienna Plaza Shopping Center (320 Maple Avenue West), where Jersey Mike’s was previously, YamaChen’s Sushi House will open at the end of February. Specializing in the standard sushi roll hit list, the new Vienna locations will be the 14th for the growing, national sushi chain. [Tysons Reporter]