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Michelin-Starred Popcorn Debuts at D.C.’s Premiere Tennis Tournament Next Month

The newly named Mubadala Citi DC Open announces its 2023 lineup of food and beverage offerings

Chef Patrick O’Connell’s popular truffled popcorn makes its first-ever public appearance at Rock Creek Park.
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

D.C.’s marquee pro tennis tournament returns to Rock Creek Park next month with a stacked roster of culinary talent. Patrick O’Connell, the chef-owner of three-Michelin-starred Inn at Little Washington, will offer his famed truffled popcorn to fans in the posh Citi Lounge and suites. This marks the first time the destination delicacy from his luxe tasting room in Washington, Virginia has been available at a public event.

As confirmed tennis stars like Andy Murray and Nick Kyrgios provide the on-court entertainment, several newly announced vendors will feed spectators at the retooled tournament. Held annually in Rock Creek Park since 1969, Citi Open combines with the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic this year to create the Mubadala Citi DC Open. The week-long event that averages 72,000 attendees runs Sunday, July 29 to Sunday, August 6 at the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center. Tickets go on sale on Thursday, June 29 and start at $15.

Chef Michael Mina is a new addition to the Mubadala Citi DC Open.
Michael Mina

Also making a 2023 debut is chef Michael Mina, whose flagship Bourbon Steak at the Four Seasons has been a D.C. staple since 2009. He plans to show off modern American eats served at his sophomore D.C. project Ridge Club, a private rooftop pool and social club that opened in upper Northwest’s City Ridge development this spring.

World Central Kitchen founder and superstar chef José Andrés is back on-site to showcase his Spanish cuisine. Maryland native Nick Stefanelli also returns with renditions of Italian dishes served at his Michelin-starred Masseria in NoMa.

Headlining beverage partner Stella Artois rolls a new vintage airstream into Rock Creek Park this year, and tequila producer Real Azul teams up with chef Victor Albisu’s DMV-wide taqueria Taco Bamba to create a Real Azul Tequila Lounge for Mexican street food and agave spirits.

Much of the food action is typically centered in Market Square, a turf-floored space with views of practicing players. Returning local favorites Duke’s Grocery, Roaming Rooster, King Street Oyster Bar, and Oro Pizza will be joined by Taco Bamba, which is gearing up to make a big D.C. comeback at City Ridge this year (and downtown in 2024). Catering and concessions are operated by Design Cuisine.

Sweets will again be supplied by hometown brands Dolcezza, Georgetown Cupcake, and Ice Cream Jubilee. Additions for 2023 include elegant French macaroons from Ladurée and ice cream scoops from Van Leeuwen, the cult NYC import currently blanketing D.C. with stores.

The annual sports showcase, managed by local tech titan Mark Ein since 2019, is now the fifth largest professional tennis event in the U.S. and the only combined ATP-WTA 500 level tennis tournament in the world.

Citi Open Quarterfinals
U.S. player Frances Tiafoe celebrates after a point against Nick Kyrgios of Australia during the 2022 Citi Open.
Photo by Scott Taetsch for The Washington Post via Getty Images