Two longtime veterans of **The Palm** plan to open their own restaurant, **Epic Smokehouse,** in Arlington near Pentagon City Mall. It will be halfway between a fine-dining steak house and a barbecue joint, according to owner-operators Wayne Halleran and Joon Yang. Halleran was a waiter at the Palm in Tysons Corner and Yang was assistant GM. The design will be more on the masculine side (no surprise to Palm vets) with everyone?s most popular design element (it seems) ? reclaimed barn wood. The plan is to open at 1330 S. Fair Street in early August.
Chef & GM Update: David Lynch, a seasoned general manager from NYC and the DMV area joins **Ping Pong Dim Sum** in Chinatown as general manager. ..Randy Hill was named general manager for Ping Pong Dim Sum at Dupont Circle? Sonny Gorushanovich joins **901 Restaurant & Bar** as general manager. Previously, he was food and beverage director at **The Donovan House,** and before that, general manager Oya in Penn Quarter. He led teams and established food and beverage programs at prominent upscale restaurants in Miami, New York City, and San Antonio?Entertainment Cruises hired Scott Reynolds as executive chef for the ***National Elite,*** the new private charter yacht docked at National Harbor. It?s expected here in early summer. Chef Reynolds comes to Entertainment Cruises from the Marriott Annapolis Waterfront Hotel **Pusser?s Caribbean Grille**?Erik Guti?rrez has been named executive chef of **Indigo Landing** in Alexandria. Previously, he worked as sous chef at **Blue on Blue** at the Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., and the acclaimed **Morrison House** in Alexandria. Sue Drabkin is the new executive pastry chef at **RIS** in D.C.?s West End. She comes from **Harvest** in Cambridge, Mass., another leader in the farm to table movement.
Mel Oursinsiri signed a lease to open another **Tom Yum District** at 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn by year?s end. The first one is in Dupont Circle. It?s a Chipotle-like concept, with a Thai twist, where guests choose from five proteins on either a salad, noodles or rice with a variety of sauces such as Penang curry. Mel is a seasoned restaurateur, as he also owns and operates **Bangkok Joe?s** and **T.H.A.I.** Shirlington.
Mark White of Whisk Group, which is known for **Againn**, a gastropub, plans to open a new salad, sandwich, pastries, breads and coffee spot called **Bean & Bite,** at 1152 15th St., NW. He also plans to donate a percentage of every item sold to a charity to be named?Bean & Bite will have a retro, recycled look. It?s slated to open mid-summer.
Boilermaker Shops is a development that was once the site for manufacturing Navy ship boilers. Expect some recognizable eateries like Thompson Hospitality?s **brb (be right burger)** and **Austin Grill Express,** as well as NRG?s **Buzz Bakery**. Out-of-towners like Louisiana transplant **Huey?s 24/7 Diner** and **Willie?s Brew & Cue,** from Xavier Cervera, the owner of Capitol Hill favorites, such as **Lola?s, Molly Malone?s** and the **Chesapeake Room**. The biggest addition may be **Bluejacket,** a craft brewery from the Neighborhood Restaurant Group (NRG) which also owns and operates **Evening Star Cafe, Birch & Barley/ChurchKey, Rustico, Tallula** and **Vermilion**. The restaurant will have 150 seats plus a large outdoor seating area. The brewery will provide beer not just on-site and to NRG?s eateries, but to other local restaurants. NRG beer director Greg Engert and Bluejacket head brewer Megan Parisi, previously with **Cambridge Brewing Co.** in Massachusetts, are collaborating on the beer. Birch & Barley chef Kyle Bailey will oversee the menu, though details have not yet been finalized. Bluejacket will open in 2013.
In addition to Willie?s Brew & Cue, restaurateur Xavier Cervera plans to open **Park Tavern** at Canal Park. The public space, previously an empty lot, will have water fountains in the summer as well as sculptures. The restaurant aims to be among D.C.?s first LEED Gold-certified restaurants. Canal Park, named for the historic Washington Canal, will provide a water-borne connection between the Anacostia River and the Potomac River via the National Mall. It?s slated to open by late fall 2012.
**Osteria Morini,** the first D.C. restaurant from esteemed NY chef/restaurateur Michael White, plans to open in the Lumber Shed development near Nationals Park along the riverfront. White was named ?Best Chef in New York? by the James Beard Foundation. Osteria Morini, a casual Italian concept, already has locations in Soho and Bernardsville, N.J. It will feature pastas, grilled meats and other northern Italian specialties. The restaurant pays homage to the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy known for prosciutto, Parmigiano and balsamic vinegar. It?s slated to open next summer.
Quick Hits: **Sakuramen**, a ramen house, recently opened in an underground hideaway in Adams Morgan. It has a communal table for 20 for those who seek to avoid sunlight ? and you know who you are. **The Pinch** also recently opened in Columbia Heights, at 3548 14th Street, NW by owners Daniel Maceda, Carlos Eyster and Ashley Brudowsky. The chef is Stephanie Sharkey. Owner operators of **Cava Mezze** and **Cava Grill,** Ike Grigoropoulos and Ted Xenohristos, recently opened **Sugo Ciccetti** at 12505 Park Potomac Drive in Rockville. Allison Cooke of Core Group designed the space. The center of attention is a large pizza oven. There is also a charcuterie case with a slicer for mesmerizing guests…**Carving Station** and **FAI Pizza** will open at Mass Court building at 300 Massachusetts Ave., NW. **Tony & Joe?s** and **Nick?s Riverside Grill** are slated to (finally) open this month.
Although the Hilton Brothers have decided not to open a restaurant at the **HR-57** jazz club space at 1610 14th St., NW, their almost-partner, Ari Gejdenson of **Acqua al 2,** has taken over the lease to open an Italian restaurant there. The Hilton Brothers have also sold their lease at 1337 H Street, NE.
James McGillivray has signed a lease to open **Volcano Hot Stone Grill** in Gainesville. It?s interactive, as it features food cooked at the table on hot lava rocks. The only similarity to **The Melting Pot** is the cooking-at-the-table part. He signed a lease to open a 3,000-square-foot location at 14706 Lee Highway. The menu will concentrate on seafood, steaks and vegetables. It will seat 100, with room for more on the patio. He plans to open mid- to late- summer.
From the owners of **Agoura** in Dupont Circle comes **Tel?veh Caf? and Wine Bar,** a more casual concept at 401 Massachusetts Ave. NW It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Like Agora, the restaurant will have a Mediterranean theme. The cafe will serve more than 300 wines by the bottle and more than 48 wines by the glass. Chef Ghassan Jarrouj will oversee both the new restaurant and Agora.
*Linda Roth Conte is president of Linda Roth Associates, Inc. (LRA), specializing in making creative connections through media relations, marketing initiatives, community outreach and special events for the hospitality industry. Contact Linda at 703-417-2700 or email@example.com, or visit her web site at www.lindarothpr.com*