Northern Virginia restauranteur Mike Cordero (Don Tito, Taco Rock, Barley Mac, Bronson Bier Hall) returns to his roots with a newly announced red-sauce joint for Ballston. Carbonara: Old School Italian & Wine Bar will open next summer in the rotunda-shaped, 4,800-square-foot corner that formerly housed Next Day Blinds (3865 Wilson Boulevard). The 40-year culinary vet, who kicked off his career making meatballs in New York in his teens, says cult crime drama The Godfather is the inspiration behind a rustic redesign and menu full of comforting classics like homemade pastas, hearty Sicilian pizzas, beef carpaccio, eggplant rollatini, cioppino stew, chicken cacciatore over ziti, tiramisu, and of course, that stuffed cannoli made famous by the 50-year-old film. Italian wines will join Negronis and prosecco-topped bellinis, Puccinis, and spritzes at a 24-seat bar. Circular booths, big banquettes, violin strummers, and crooners will set the throwback scene with room for 150. Cordero Hospitality group is a family affair he runs with sons Nick and Anthony Cordero.
A French wine-fueled discotheque for Adams Morgan
A new “French-Canadian disco” shimmies into the old Southern Hospitality space this fall (1815 Adams Mills Road NW), per a release. Le Mont Royal comes from Cotton & Reed’s ex-distiller Chas Jefferson and Beuchert Saloon alum Bart Hutchins, whose shared love for nightlife in Montreal and Paris is the muse for a velvet banquette-lined venture dripping in disco balls and its name scribbled in hot-pink neon out front. Jefferson brings the party with natural wines, grower champagnes, and fun cocktails, while Hutchins plans to fancy up Canadian poutine and ice cream-stuffed Twinkies with foie gras. After sit-down dinner service with a four-course tasting option, patrons can head upstairs to dance the night away to a vinyl soundtrack.
D.C.’s Italian darling Modena names a new executive chef
The Point’s executive chef and 2022 Capital Food Fight winner Benjamin Lambert jumped ship after just over a year at the Southwest seafood grill to reunite with D.C. power restaurateur Ashok Bajaj downtown. Lambert replaces Fiola alum John Melfi at modern Modena (1100 New York Avenue NW), who left the 3-year-old Northern Italian showpiece this summer for a new life in Italy. Lambert worked for Bajaj’s Knightsbridge Restaurant Group before, leading the kitchen at Penn Quarter’s upscale 701 until its 2018 closure, and at District Winery before that. His lengthy East Coast career has included working for celebrity chef bosses like Geoffrey Zakarian, Michael Mina, and Nora Pouillon.