Welcome to a.m. Intel, your bite-sized roundup of D.C. food and restaurant news. Tips are always welcome, drop them here.
Old Bay vodka will soon start flowing into all those nooks and crannies left dry now that Russian vodka has fallen out of favor. The corn-based crystal spirit, a collaboration between three Maryland-based businesses (McCormick spices, cocktail mix maker George’s Beverage Co.. and McClintock Distilling), has actually been in the works for several years. Old Bay announced the release today on its social media channels. Virginia removed bottles of Russian vodka from its shelves last week, while many D.C. area restaurants and bars have stopped offering it. Russian-made vodka accounts for about 1% of the vodka consumed in the U.S. [Washington Business Journal]
Fire damages Sign of the Whale
Flames broke out at Dupont Circle’s Sign of the Whale bar (1825 M Street NW) ) Wednesday afternoon. It took firefighters about 30 minutes to extinguished the fire, which caused no injuries and didn’t spread to nearby buildings, according to NBC Washington. The fire appeared to start at the top of the building, where the owner (who was not there) has an apartment, according to an employee. The two-story hangout went through a two-month renovation in 2020. It’s now temporarily closed again and hosting pop-ups at Nero to raise funds.
Silver Spring’s new food hall announces first tenants
DMV Empanadas and Trini Vybez are heading to Silver Spring’s new international food hall, Commas, opening in the second-level space in Ellsworth Place (8661 Colesville Road) with room for a dozen chefs, makers, and restaurateurs showcasing cuisines from Ethiopia, Korea, Malaysia, El Salvador, Italy, and New Jersey. DMV Empanadas, a fixture at D.C. and Baltimore-area farmers’ markets for nearly 10 years, fills empanadas with chicken, arroz and spicy pork, shrimp Old Bay, and cheeseburger, among others. Trini Vybez started as a food truck in 2020 with Trinidadian street food like curries and rotis. [EaterWire]
Pencil it in: Taste of Vienna is back
After a two-year, pandemic-induced hiatus, the Taste of Vienna (400 Center Street S, Vienna) food festival is returning on April 30, 2022 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m for its ninth year raising funds for the 115-year-old volunteer fire department. Applications for vendors is open now. [FFXnow.com]
Taco Bamba and Shake Shack expand
Maryland will get its second Taco Bamba this spring when chef Victor Albisu opens a new shop in Gaithersburg, Maryland at the Quince Orchard shopping center (608 Quince Orchard Road). The 2,900-square foot Gaithersburg location will include a full-service bar, and a patio. Meanwhile, the popular taqueria is making plans to open in Herndon, Virginia and and Alexandria, Virginia also this year. [EaterWire]
A 4,000-square foot Shake Shack is heading to Merrifield’s Mosaic District this spring, taking over the former spot (2911 District Avenue) of the casual Indian restaurant, Choolah, which made its Covid-19 closure permanent in January 2021. It’s the burger and shake chain’s second Fairfax location. Other Mosaic District restaurants include Ted’s Bulletin, Cava, bartaco, District Dumplings, and Jinya Ramen Bar.
Meanwhile, another Shake Shack is opening at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway, Chantilly) near Dulles airport. It’ll be the chain’s closest location to Loudoun County.
New York-based seafood hub Seamore’s will open its first location outside of the Big Apple in Clarendon this August. It will slide in next to Tatte Bakery at the Crossing Clarendon in the former spot of Baja Fresh (2800 Clarendon Boulevard, Arlington). Menus at the other six locations check off the seafood classics with oysters, lobster rolls, trout, and more. [ARLnow.com]
Leave the cooking to the experts
Clifton, Virginia’s lauded Trummer’s restaurant (7134 Main Street) is taking over the weeknight cooking with take-home pasta kits ($88) with house-made tagliatelle pasta made with Clifton eggs, Autumn Olive pork and beef bolognese, parm, a mixed green salad, and housemade focaccia. Order here for same-day pickup at the restaurant.