Despite the continuing challenges of the pandemic, there’s lots of exciting dining options popping up all over town. Here’s a running list of recent openings. Other new and notable restaurants are featured here. Know of a spot that should be on this list? Send us a tip by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
MT. PLEASANT—D.C.’s wildly popular breakfast taco pop-up La Tejana swings open its first standalone store on Saturday, August 6. The 2020 fan favorite of Washington Post food columnist Tim Carman brings the upper Northwest neighborhood a true taste of the tiny taquerias its co-founder Ana-Maria Jaramillo frequented growing up in Texas. La Tejana honors Rio Grande Valley’s beloved border cuisine with five opening tacos — all served on homemade flour tortillas — like the “956” with eggs, bacon, potatoes, refried beans, queso, and cilantro ($4.50 each; three for $13; or six for $24). Open Wednesday to Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., with drip and cold brew coffee too. 3211 Mt. Pleasant Street NW
MT. VERNON TRIANGLE—Roving food truck Rebel Taco unveiled its long-awaited K Street NW outpost on Friday, August 5. The 1,600-square-foot, graffiti-soaked space with a leaf-lined patio out front sports a Day of the Dead look with bright neon colors and skull logos. Corn and flour tortillas are topped with meaty fillings like barbacoa and chorizo, plus options for vegetarians and plans to hand patrons frozen margaritas through a bar window. Rebel Taco also maintains a truck at its Clarendon beer garden The Lot, with other locations in Brambleton, Virginia and Philly. 508 K Street NW
BALLSTON—Hawkers Street Asian Fare brings a variety dim sum, tiki drinks, and curries to Ballston on Thursday, August 4. The anticipated location, two years in the making, takes up a 4,380-square-foot corner of the Ballston Exchange complex. Founded in 2011 in Orlando, the fast-growing chain made its D.C. area debut at Bethesda Row in 2020. Its first location in Virginia is a little smaller than its Maryland counterpart. Hawkers, which pays homage to “hawker” street food stalls found across bustling night markets in Asia, is known for its Malaysian flat breads and other recipes from co-founder Allen Lo’s family. 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Va.
ADAMS MORGAN—The 18th Street NW nightlife strip welcomed a cheerful destination for pastries wrapped in homemade dough at the end of July. Mola Empanada’s Panamanian-Caribbean menu stars savory selections like braised chicken curry with red bell peppers; chickpea curry with coconut milk; or a picadillo beef variety with a hint of cinnamon. Born as a pop-up, Mola’s debut storefront also offers a pan-fried section of plantains (patacones) and yucca fries, plus Panamanian breads coming soon. 2438 18th Street NW
NAVY YARD—Chicken + Whiskey, the popular South American rotisserie shop and whiskey bar on 14th Street NW since 2017, adds a bigger, follow-up location right next to Nationals Park on Saturday, July 30. Star Latin chef and partner Enrique Limardo (Seven Reasons, Immigrant Food, Imperfecto) designs a menu full of slow-roasted chickens brined for 12 hours and Venezuelan arepas to go along with a lengthy list of domestic and international whiskey pours. Unlike the narrow layout of the original — a chicken joint in the front, with a speakeasy tucked behind a refrigerator door in the back — Chicken + Whiskey puts its two components side-by-side in Navy Yard with roll-up garage doors spanning the length of the facade. 70 N Street SE
DOWNTOWN—Immigrant Food+, the nearly year-old destination for artsy global plates and dim sum in the literary-themed Planet Word museum, unveiled a new Negroni patio on Tuesday, July 26. The beloved summertime cocktail, comprised of equal parts gin, Campari and sweet vermouth, takes center stage across its peaceful patio out back. In Immigrant Food+ fashion, the Negroni gets a few global twists with spirits from France, Italy, and India. There’s six types to choose from ($15 each), and patrons can taste three as part of a $21 flight. The patio is open Tuesdays to Saturdays. 925 13th Street NW
REAGAN NATIONAL—Fuel up before a flight at Elevation Burger’s brand new locale at Terminal E inside the airport. Founded in 2002, the health-conscious patty pioneer known for its grass-fed burgers and olive oil-cooked fries also sends out ice cream shakes, cage-free chicken sandwiches, onion rings battered in gluten-free breading, and meat-free proteins.
ALEXANDRIA—Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, the iconic New Haven-style pizza parlor out of Connecticut, opens its second D.C. area location on Monday, July 18 at the Alexandria Commons Shopping Center. Founded nearly 100 years ago, the cult chain maintains a devoted New England following for its chewy, coal-fired pies with a thin, oblong crust and charred finish. The first area outpost opened at Bethesda’s Westfield Montgomery Mall this spring. 3231 Duke Street, Alexandria, Va.
DEL RAY—Elo’s Italian, the rustic Italian pop-up that took residency in Live Oak during the pandemic, has permanently replaced the Southern restaurant. Named for executive chef and owner Justus Frank’s daughter, family-friendly Elo’s serves pastas, flatbreads, charcuterie, cocktails, and wine. 1603 Commonwealth Avenue, Alexandria, Va.
UPPER NORTHWEST—D.C.’s first-ever Wegmans opened on Wednesday, July 13, with in-store dining options (Burger Bar and Pizza Shop); a raw bar with poke bowls and sushi; a bakery with homemade pastries and doughnuts; and Buzz coffee shop, plus 500 types of spirits, vermouths, and sakes. 41 Ridge Square NW
BETHESDA—Pizza TBD, Ensemble Digital Kitchen’s newest delivery and takeout brand, debuted in early July with a unique Roman-meets-Detroit style that relies on a 40-hour ferment. Opening offerings include a “Truffle Shuffle” and “Pep Boi” pie. The Steve Salis-run ghost kitchen also sends out eats from his Bib Gourmand-designated Honeymoon Chicken and Federalist Pig. 4856 Cordell Avenue, Bethesda, Md.
SILVER SPRING—DMV food truck Trippy Tacos unveiled its first restaurant in Silver Spring starring tacos on homemade corn tortillas. There’s also quesadillas, nachos, tortas, and burritos, plus new breakfast offerings, loaded nacho fries, and a pupusa pizza. 12134 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, Md.
DOWNTOWN—CitySwing’s first permanent golf studio opened on Thursday, July 7, with simulator rentals and lessons. Starting in early August, the bar and lounge will go live with a full food and beverage program. 901 New York Avenue NW
SILVER SPRING—Last fall the iconic home to Mrs. K’s Tollhouse flipped into an all-day venture called Zinnia, making use of its tavern and garden spaces. A stylish cafe joined the mix on Wednesday, July 6, with Counter Culture coffee drinks and full breakfast and lunch menus. 9201 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, Md.
DISTRICT HEIGHTS—Chef Damien Brown has new neon-lit, pop art-filled place to stock his whimsical sweets. Uncaged Desserts opened in early July with bourbon peach cobbler and Samosas cookie puddings, lemon bar cakes, and cheesecake slices stuffed with oatmeal cream and cherry. Swing by from noon to 7 p.m. 6031 Marlboro Pike, District Heights, Md.
ALEXANDRIA—Jollibee, the worldwide fast-food chain from the Philippines with a hyper-loyal fanbase, brings buckets of fried chicken and other favorites to Alexandria. Some 2,500 guests showed up to the opening in late June at the Plaza at Landmark shopping center. Its first D.C. area location debuted a year ago in Wheaton, Md. 4809 Beauregard Street, Alexandria, Va.
WEST END—Bandoola Bowl, the Southeast Asian salad shop that debuted in Georgetown 2019, is the newest vendor inside Western Market food hall. Flavors from Burma, Vietnam, and Thailand make their way into customized salads or warm bowls. Pick a spicy rice noodle or brown rice base can be topped with an array of proteins, spices, fruits, vegetables, and garnishes. Upcoming events on-site include a pet adoption event on Wednesday, July 20, and live music on Thursday, July 28. 2000 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
ADAMS MORGAN—Jerk at Nite, the popular food truck founded by Howard University alumni, adds a new nightlife-driven location to enjoy its modern Jamaican menu and cocktails. 2406 18th Street NW
CHINATOWN—The space that formerly housed Honeygrow flipped into fast-casual Chinese food spot Wasai, serving dumplings, stir-fried noodles, wonton soup, pulled pork buns from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. 716 7th Street NW
SPRING VALLEY—Aussie-styled coffee roaster Bluestone Lane debuted its third D.C. cafe in Spring Valley in mid-June with its familiar flat whites, avo smash toasts, and new fried chicken sandwiches. Order pick-up, dine-in, or delivery via its app from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. 4874 Massachusetts Avenue NW