The Latest Dish: Church Hall, Lutèce, Proper 21K

Will Strozier and Rob Zahn, the Proper Social guys who brought us Proper 21, opened Proper 21K at 21st and K Streets NW in the West End/Foggy Bottom area. Made for social distancing, the 8,000-square-foot space is complemented by a 2,000-square-foot outdoor seating area and a grand bar designed for watching sports. Steve Forbes is executive chef and managing partner.

Chef Geoff veteran Santos Fuentes, who recently led the kitchen at Lia’s in Chevy Chase, Maryland, now heads the kitchen at the newly opened Chef Geoff’s West End at 2201 M St. NW, where Cafe Deluxe used to be. In the great-outdoors department, it has a rooftop event space and a substantial 30-seat wraparound patio. Indoors are 160 seats plus 24 at the bar. The retractable exterior windows were designed and built with social distancing in mind.

Chef Update: Fairmont Washington, D.C., Georgetown named Ashish (AJ) Thalakkat executive pastry chef. He was previously at The Claremont Club in Berkeley, California. If you ever had the opportunity to enjoy afternoon tea at the famed Empress in Victoria, British Columbia, Thalakkat was executive pastry chef there from 2014 to 2018. … Executive Chef Taraneh Salehi will oversee the culinary program at Sheesh Grill locations in Chantilly (13940 Lee Jackson Memorial Highway) and Falls Church (8190 Strawberry Lane).

Quick Hits: Copacabana is slated to open in Adams Morgan at 2434 18th St. NW. The café replaces Taste of Seoul, which had been Friendship Macaron … Aaron McGovern and Arturas Vorobjovas of Russia House and Biergarten Haus plan to open the seafood-centric Brine at 1359 H St. NE, where The Outsider used to be. They are well positioned for this pandemic with (in addition to 30 seats indoors) 44 seats outside on a covered veranda … District Bodega, a Mexican tacqueria, plans to move into part of the former Dean & DeLuca space at 3276 M St. NW in Georgetown, where the Artists & Fleas vendor market plans to move as well … Donahue Lounge is slated to open where Smith Point used to be at 1338 Wisconsin Ave. NW … Capital One Café is expected to open in 2021 at MLK Gateway in Anacostia at Martin Luther King Avenue and Good Hope Road SE. Capital One currently has stores open in Penn Quarter and in Georgetown … Les Gemelas (translation: the twins) café and restaurant is slated to open at Union Market’s La Cosecha Latin American food hall. It comes from Josh Phillips, the force behind Espita Han Palace is slated to open in mid-September where Ten Penh was, at 7900 Westpark Drive in Tysons, Virginia. It will feature dim sum, according to owner Chris Zhu, who also owns China Garden in Rockville, Maryland (previously in Arlington, Virginia).

Melina, a full-service, veggie-centric, fine-casual Greek restaurant from the folks who brought you Cava — Ike Grigoropoulos, Dimitri Moshovitis and Ted Xenohristos — is slated to open at Pike & Rose in North Bethesda, Maryland. Named after Moshovitis’s daughter, Melina will join Fogo de Chao, Summer House Santa Monica, &pizza and sweetgreen there.

Revamped: Café Bonaparte, at 1522 Wisconsin Ave. NW in Georgetown, has morphed into Lutèce, with Matt Conroy reigning over the kitchen. Previously, Conroy was chef de cuisine at Oxomoco, a Michelin-starred Mexican restaurant in Brooklyn … Silver Diner opened at 4630 King St. in Alexandria, Virginia, in the West Alex development.

Ch-Ch-Changes: Colony Club in Park View is now Doubles, referencing the iconic ping-pong table there — as well as the café doing a “double” by serving coffee and pastries by day and cocktails in the evening. It’s brought to you by Max Zuckerman and Ben Heller.

HalfSmoke owner Andre McCain plans to expand from his Shaw location into two Maryland restaurants: in Rockville Town Center, with 150 seats inside and 30 outside, and in Baltimore at 2400 Boston St., with 80 seats inside and 40 outside. It’s part of a larger long-term expansion plan that includes more online sales and spaces designed for expedient delivery and pickup.

From the Tin Shop folks who brought you Franklin Hall, TallBoy and, recently, Church Hall, the enormous bar beneath Georgetown Park, comes a new outdoor brick courtyard at 3223 Grace St. NW, with biergarten seating overlooking the C&O Canal. Open Wednesday through Sunday, the food component features snacks that pair well with adult beverages.

Linda Roth (@LindaRothPR) is the founder and CEO of Linda Roth Associates, a D.C.-based public relations and marketing firm that specializes in the hospitality industry. Visit her on the web at 



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