The Latest Dish


The coffee shop revolution has hit a new front with the opening of the uber-cool (check out the gossip columns for who goes there in LA) The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, at the Washington Hilton. It will be their second East Coast store, the first being Miami. It is slated to open this fall in the Connecticut Avenue lobby, with easy access for commuters in the Dupont Circle corridor. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is a Los Angeles, California-based coffee chain, with over 750 locations in 22 countries, including Australia, Brunei, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Israel, South Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, Sri Lanka United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.

It’s official: the guys who brought you Matchbox have signed a lease to open at 14th and T, NW. This will be the fourth Matchbox in the D.C. area, as they also own and operate a fifth matchbox in Palm Springs, Ca.

Chris George plans to open Memphis Barbeque in the former Mackey’s Pub space in Crystal City before summer ends. A significant facelift is in the works. George got his start with Houston’s, but has also worked at Occidental Grill and Mike’s American Grill. There will also be a large patio for dining when the weather permits.

Bistro Le Zinc has arrived just in time to take advantage of the recent release of Woody Allen’s movie, “Midnight in Paris.” The Macomb Street bistro is owned and operated by Brasserie Beck’s former manager John Warner and executive chef David Ashwell, who also cooked at Marcel’s. The name comes from the term “les zincs” referring to the pewter bar counter tops often found in French cafes. There is seating for 60 inside and 20 on the patio.

The head chef of Café Atlantico, Richard Brandenburg, has been hired by Edens & Avant, one of the big boys in real estate development, as its first director of culinary strategy. Café Atlantico closed in June to make room for America Eats Tavern, the edible collaboration between Jose Andres’ ThinkFoodGroup and the National Archives.

The retail space on the corner of the 4th and Massachusetts Ave. NW (NoMa) will be the home to a new “European Café with wine bar” to be called TEL’VEH.

Chef Bryan Voltaggio has two restaurants in the works, both slated for next year. The first will be in Frederick, Voltaggio’s hometown and the site of Volt. The working name for the 10,000-square-foot space is North Market Kitchen, and it’ll have a large dining room, a store, and exhibition kitchen with stations for pasta, raw seafood, cheese, baked goods, and rotisserie meats. Voltaggio was inspired by New York’s Eataly. Closer to D.C. will be a bistro/steakhouse hybrid in Chevy Chase Pavilion, also home to a Cheesecake Factory. Voltaggio’s 220-seat restaurant will have an open kitchen.

Speaking of Eataly, rumor is that Joe Bastianich and Mario Batali are scouting sites in D.C. to open an Eataly, which is comprised of a food hall that sells gourmet foods and several restaurants. They will need a big space.

Developer Forest City Washington announced Monday the signing of seven new restaurants anchored by a Harris Teeter grocery store at its new project called The Yards near Nationals Park. The restaurants, all slated to open in 2012, will include Potbelly, Buzz Bakery, Austin Grill Express, Kruba Thai and Sushi, BRB-Be Right Burger, Huey’s 24/7 Diner and a brew pub from Neighborhood Restaurant Group, the group behind Birch & Barley and ChurchKey.

Chef Update: ThinkFoodGroup has promoted Joe Raffa, the head chef at Oyamel, to culinary operations director for the restaurant company, overseeing the culinary operations of 11 concepts in three U.S. markets. He will be replaced at Oyamel by industry veteran John Paul Damato, formerly the head chef of Jaleo in Bethesda. Chef Richard Beckel is the culinary force behind Thompson Hospitality’s BRB: Be Right Burger, awhile he is head chef at American Tap Room. A Culinary Institute of America in NY graduate, Chef Beckel has worked at Hooked Seafood Restaurant in Sterling, Va. as well as The Caucus Room in Penn Quarter, D.C.

Managers Update: Gil Fornaris has been hired as General Manager of Ping Pong Dim Sum at the new Dupont Circle location – slated to open in September, but will take on the roll of Operations Manager for both that and the Penn Quarter location. Morton’s, The Steakhouse in Georgetown has a new Sales and Marketing Manager, Carla McCully, who hails from Hilton Dulles.

Openings Update: Shaw’s Tavern slated to open by August on Florida Ave., NW. It appears the restaurants on the Georgetown waterfront at Washington Harbour will not be open until spring 2012. Pinkberry, the tart frozen yogurt shop, plans to open in Georgetown in October. RJ Cooper’s Rogue 24 opened on July 27, which is why he could not do the Chefs Go Fresh motorcycle ride on July 26 (bummer).

Bobby Flay is planning to open another Bobby’s Burger Palace at 2121 K Street, NW on Aug. 16 with his famed crunch burgers and boozy milk shakes.


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