The Latest Dish

Germany-based Vapiano expects to have six restaurants in the metro area, with the recent opening of their newest store in Reston. This will be a corporate location, as are the ones in downtown D.C., Penn Quarter, Ballston, Dulles Town Center and Bethesda. With the openings of stores in Charlotte, Chicago and Miami, they will have 13 units in the U.S.A. by the end of the year. That does not include the international stores.

North Carolina-based Fuel Pizza will open at 600 F Street and 1606 K Street in the former Burger King space. The chain got its start in a space that was formerly a gas station, hence the name. Make no mistake, it’s New Yorkers (who know their pizza) that started Fuel Pizza.

A neighborhood pop-up taco stand called Del Rey is slated to open at 9 and U Streets, NW. Its beer garden and tacos theme is the creation of Ian and Eric Hilton, who also own Marvin and American Ice Company. They plan to open next spring.

Aman Ayoubi of Local 16 opened the Lost Society, a steakhouse, at 14 and U Streets, NW. He and his partners will offer sustainable seafood and local sourced beef from a local farm in the dining space, lounge and roof deck.

Teaism is slated to open a new location at the Moderno condo building at the corner of 12 and U Streets, NW. That gives Teaism its fourth location in D.C. They have stores in Dupont Circle, Penn Quarter, and the downtown D.C. Lafayette Park area.

Tom Power, chef and owner of Corduroy, will open a second restaurant in the town house next door on 9 Street, NW. He’s chosen a new fabric to name it after – Velour. Décor will be minimalist, showcasing brick, concrete floors, wood and steel, with a menu price point of $20 or less per item. A spring 2012 opening is planned.

Turkish QSR: Mehmet Yasar Cicek, along with partners Hosam Ramadan, his college roommate and Arshad Khan, a New York-based restaurant industry veteran, has signed a master franchise agreement for Mr. Kumpir, a Turkey-based franchise with nearly 50 locations worldwide. This triumvirate plans to open its first U.S. stores. Kumpir is a loaded baked potato, so it is a familiar comfort food item. They hope to open up to 30 locations over the next five to six years, with New York next in line. They are looking for sites ranging from 1,000 to 1,500 square feet. Mr. Kumpir will offer several varieties of the kumpir stuffed-potato dish as well as sandwiches, pasta salads and desserts.

Openings Update: Rabbit, the salad + protein concept from the folks who brought you TangySweet and Red Velvet Cupcakery, is expected to open this month in Clarendon. District Commons and Burger, Tap and Shake (from the folks who brought you D.C. Coast, Ceiba, Acadiana and the soon to shutter Ten Penh) slated to open in August. Ping Pong Dim Sum (now in Penn Quarter) slated to open its second location at end of August. Shaw’s Tavern to open this month on Florida Ave, NW. Redeye Grill from the Fireman Hospitality Group (Fiorella Pizzeria, Bond 45) slated to open at National Harbor by year’s end. Side note: If you have not seen Bacchus sitting atop the tortoise with floating mozzarella balls floating in the trough at Fiorella, that alone is worth the trip. Insurance issues abound for the restaurants at the flooded Washington Harbor on the Georgetown waterfront. Tony & Joe’s and Nick’s Riverside Grill have their patios open – and have the grill out and the outdoor bar open. Clyde Restaurant Group’s new 35,000 square foot restaurant and music venue where Borders Books used to be on 4 Street NW, is slated to open by year’s end.

Quick Hits: Rogue States to reopen at Black and Orange (Baltimore Orioles fan?) Reynold Mendizabal plans to renovate Rogue States with better venting so it appeases neighbor’s issues. Philadelphia superstar restaurateur Stephen Starr plans to open his first restaurant in the ever popular 14 Street corridor. Penny and
Mike Willimann will open Olio (olive oil in Italian), an olive oil tasting room, in Old Town Alexandria. It will offer 30 to 35 varieties of flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars for sale in a tasting room setting similar to a wine shop. Next year may bring a much anticipated new location to an established steakhouse in the suburbs. Starfish Café on Barracks Row on 8 St in the southeast will reopen as Lavagna Italian Cuisine.

Chef & GM Update: Umer Naim is the new general manager at Ping Pong Dim Sum in Penn Quarter. Previously, he was with Starr (as in Stephen) Restaurant Organization in Philadelphia. Brenton Balika is the new pastry chef at Bourbon Steak at the Four Season hotel. Salim Nahhas is the new pastry chef at Alexandria Pastry Shop. The native of Jordan represented his country in the World Pastry Cup in Paris.

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