The Latest Dish: Tony & Joe’s, Nick’s; Buben

Chef Jeff Buben

Jeff Buben’s Full Baked empire expands, when he takes over Potenza restaurant at 15th & H Streets, NW to open Woodward Table, named for the building it’s in. The new restaurant features what Buben does best: regional American cooking. The bar will remain the second longest in the city. The pizza ovens will remain as well. Buben will add a takeout concept for breakfast and lunch called Woodward Takeout Food, affectionately referred to as WTF. Joe Harran, his chef de cuisine at Bistro Bis will become the chef de cuisine at Woodward Table. Dwight Griz of GrizForm Design will once again design the new space, as he did for the renovated Vidalia 10 years ago. The Fully Baked empire includes Vidalia, with 20 years at 20th & M Streets, NW, and Bistro Bis in the George Hotel on Capitol Hill. Buben takes over the space to renovate in September. A November opening is planned.

Elizabeth Banker plans to open Slate Wine Bar on Wisconsin Avenue in Glover Park, where Kitchen 2404 used to be. It will offer a full menu as well but will feature family-owned vineyards that are sustainable and organic. Banker has taken a leave from her law career to pursue her passion for small production wines. The focus will be on specialty wines sold by the glass.

Although Tony & Joe’s and Nick’s Riverside Grill have been serving grilled items outside on the patio at Washington Harbour by the Georgetown Waterfront, all of the interior space will be open for business early this month, after 15 months of recovering from the April 18, 2011, flood.

Founding Farmers, also at Washington Harbour, had flood damage and plans to open this fall as Farmers Fishers Bakers, a new farm-to-table restaurant with a bakery. The farm theme, designed by GrizForm Design, includes sculptural farm animals and gardening tools. The bar area will resemble field grids and the back room will be more nautical (hence, the Fishers in the title). Alongside the tables in the pantry area will be barrels and shelving with items that the restaurant grew and pickled.

Keith and Chery Early’s newest restaurant, Bungalow Lakehouse, in Cascades, Va., will be the largest in Loudoun County, with more than 500 seats, including more than 100 on a large lake. Jason Maddens, formerly of Michel Richard’s Central in Penn Quarter, is the executive chef. It may be fate, as Maddens is a Loudoun County native and grew up in that same neighborhood. His first restaurant job was with the Lone Star Steakhouse, which is the site Bungalow Lakehouse now occupies. The Earlys have owned successful restaurants for 30 years in Northern Virginia, including Riannon’s, Bungalow Billiard’s (7) and two Bungalow Alehouses. General manager is Kip Olson, a longtime veteran of Clyde’s Restaurant Group as well as managing partner at the Capital Grille Tysons Corner. An August opening is planned.

Spike Mendelsohn plans to open his third restaurant on Capitol Hill this fall. Bearnaise Restaurant will offer steak frites, a nod to his time spent in France working for chef Gerard Boyer at Les Craveres. It will be on the same block on Pennsylvania Ave., SE, as Good Stuff Eatery and We The Pizza. Matchbox Food Group has three concepts in one block too, on Capitol Hill on 8th Street, SE – Matchbox, Ted’s Bulletin and DC3.

Nizam Ali of Ben’s Chili Bowl plans to expand into the H Street corridor (aka Atlas District), its first serious expansion since 1958, even though they opened Next Door next door and a concession stand at National Park. Lower level will be a Ben’s Chili Bowl, while upstairs will be a more upscale concept that includes a roof deck. Being the community people they are, the owners plan to contact nearby Gallaudet University to learn what they can do to enhance the dining experience for the hearing impaired.

Quick Hits: Mark Kuller of Proof and Estadio, has decided on a name for his new Asian restaurant: Quan… Papadopoulos Properties has more locations confirmed for Roti Mediterranean Grill. The latest is in the Westlake Crossing Shopping Center. The space used to be a Baja Fresh. Roti has seven locations locally, with spots in Union Station and College Park slated to open soon. Crios Modern Mexican recently opened where Vento was at 2120 P St., NW in Dupont Circle. The owner-operators are Joanne and Julie Liu, who also own Jenny’s Asian Fusion on the southwest waterfront and Scion Restaurant in Dupont Circle. Beau Thai on New Jersey Ave., NW, plans to open a second location in Mount Pleasant on Mt. Pleasant St, NW.

Chef, GM & Sommelier Update: Yo! Sushi has hired Thomas Hanson as its general manager for its Union Station store which recently opened. He was previously at Masa 14… Gregory Webb has been named executive chef of Tortilla Coast in Logan Circle. Previously, he worked as executive chef at McLean 1910 Restaurant in Virginia… Karen Pawelec joins Vinifera Wine Bar & Bistro as its new sous chef. She is a Culinary Institute of America graduate…Ryan Sol has been named Vinifera Wine Bar and Bistro’s certified sommelier. He is a recent graduate of the French Culinary Institute’s wine studies and sommelier program, as well as the Court of Master Sommelier’s Certified Sommelier Exam. Previously, he managed the World Gourmet Wine Shop in Potomac, Md. … John Donnelly was named manager for Matchbox 14th Street when it opens this fall. He currently manages at Matchbox Rockville. Jason Gehring, formerly of Fiola, is now the pastry chef at Bethesda Food Wine & Co. Nate Waugman is now the chef for Tallula and EatBar in Arlington, which is part of Neighborhood Restaurant Group. He had been executive chef at Addie’s in Rockville, as well as personal chef for Washington Redskins owner, Dan Snyder. Jon Mathieson is the new chef at BLT Steak. He comes from 2941 in Falls Church, and Michel and Inox in Tysons Corner. Expect more French-inspired menu items. Mathieson replaced Victor Albisu, who plans to open his own Mexican-themed restaurant in Falls Church. John Toigo is the new sommelier in at Fiola in Penn Quarter. Most recently, he was the cellar master at the Inn at Little Washington. Tom Wellings is the new pastry chef at Fiola. Previously, he was at Equinox. Brandi Edinger has taken over as pastry chef at Equinox. Steve Yoon has taken over as chef at Sushi Rock in Arlington’s Court House village. He’s worked at Japanese restaurants in Venice, Calif., and in Texas. Jason Cote is the chef de cuisine at Mayfair & Pine, recently opened in Glover Park by “Top Chef” season two contestant, Emily Sprissler.

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 or visit her web site at

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