The Latest Dish


Minneapolis-based Granite City Food & Brewery plans to open its first East Coast location (and 33rd in the nation) late in April at National Harbor, on the bottom level of the Esplanade Building. With 300+ seats, this casual restaurant will feature a brewery, an open kitchen, a spacious patio and private dining. The plan is to have more than a dozen 450-gallon tanks on site. The company also owns Cadillac Ranch, which is slated to have a $1-million renovation this fall.

Quick Hits – Shaw edition: The Shay apartment building is expected to welcome a Tim Ma restaurant and a Compass Coffee … A ramen shop from Daikaya’s Daisuke Utagawa, Yama Jewayni and Katsuya Fukushima is slated for Shaw … Expect a Neighborhood Restaurant Group restaurant from their chef Rob Rubba in the old Atlantic Plumbing building.

More Shaw: All Purpose, a pizza-centric Italian American restaurant, is slated to open in the Colonel in Shaw at 1250 9th St. NW. It’s a team effort from the Bloomingdale restaurateurs who brought you The Red Hen – Michael Friedman, Michael O’Malley, and Sebastian Zutant – and Boundary Stone owners Gareth Croke and Colin McDonough. Michael will work with pastry chef Tiffany MacIsaac of Buttercream Bakeshop to create a special pizza dough. MacIsaac will consult on All Purpose’s desserts, as well as open a bakeshop in the same building. The beverage menu will be a collaboration between Zutant, Croke and McDonough. The 80-seat restaurant is expected to open in the fourth quarter of this year.

Also opening in the Colonel is a Mexican restaurant, Espita Mezcalería. Shaw resident and owner, Josh Phillips, a Master Mezcalier, plans an innovative bar program that highlights the many varietals of the spirit, paired with the complex flavors of food from the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. A Cornell grad, Phillips worked in bars and restaurants in Philadelphia before studying mezcal in Oaxaca. A September opening is planned.

Robert Wiedmaier will open Urban Heights – with chef Cliff Wharton at the helm – at the former location of The Roof in Bethesda. In line with the chef’s Filipino heritage, Philippine and South Asian cuisine will be the heart of the menu. The restaurant will feature small plates on three floors along with a rooftop bar and a tuna bar – offering everything from the unusual ahi poke to the popular tuna tartare. A May opening is planned.

Cathal and Meshelle Armstrong plan to open their first D.C. restaurant in Southwest D.C.’s Wharf development. It will be different from Restaurant Eve, serving food from all over Asia, notably Filipino cuisine. Filipino food is trending hot now, as there is also Purple Patch in Mount Pleasant and Bad Saint in Columbia Heights, as well as the aforementioned Urban Heights in Bethesda. The Filipino connection is Meshelle, who is of Filipino descent.

Chef and Manager Update: Michael Williams was appointed beverage director of Bastille and its sister restaurant Bistrot Royal, both in Old Town, Alexandria. He previously worked at The Oval Room and The Occidental Grill … Bobbie Miller is the new chef and beverage director at the Westin Arlington Gateway and will oversee hotel’s Italian restaurant Pinzimini … Fabrice Bendano is the new pastry chef at Le Diplomate in D.C.’s Logan Circle. He has worked at Adour and Citronelle and, most recently, as a consultant for Alain Ducasse’s miX in Las Vegas. He won the RAMMY award for Best Pastry Chef in 2012.

Quick Hits: The Navy Yard Oyster Co., a wine-centric oyster bar, is slated to open at the Lumber Shed in Southeast … The Woodward Building on 15th Street in downtown D.C. will soon feature an intimate prepared-food shop and bakery from the owners of Pleasant Pops in Adams Morgan … Blackfinn will open a 6,500-square-foot restaurant at the Loudoun Station project in the fourth quarter of 2015. There are currently locations in downtown D.C. and Merrifield … Basil Leaf, a fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant with Persian influence (the chef is Reza Monsefan, who used to run Pars) will also open there this summer.

Openings Update: Momofuku Milk Bar has a summer opening scheduled … Pizza Studio in Dupont Circle is now planning an early second-quarter opening … Tadich Grill is now aiming for the middle of the second quarter … Smokehouse Live, a barbecue restaurant from Jim Foss, most recently of Hill Country BBQ, and Kristopher Diemar, formerly of Carmine’s, are taking this barbecue concept to Leesburg and plan to open mid-spring.

Linda Roth is president of Linda Roth Associates, a public relations and marketing firm that specializes in the hospitality industry.

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