FAD Georgetown: Oct. 10, 11, 12

September 12, 2013

Save the dates, Georgetown BID writes: Fashion, art and design will come together this fall as Georgetown launches D.C.’s newest annual style and culture event, FAD Georgetown, from Thursday, Oct. 10, through Saturday, Oct.12. Hosted by the Georgetown Business Improvement District, this neighborhood-wide celebration will showcase the neighborhood’s fashion, art and design merchants and creative community during three activity-filled days of fashion events, shopping, street style, gallery walks, design seminars, red carpets and more. More details to follow.

Gypsy Sally’s Ready to Play on Water Street

Gypsy Sally’s, the live music venue and multi-use event at 3401 Water St., NW, above Malmaison Restaurant, will open Thursday, Sept. 12.

Located nearly at the banks of the Potomac River, Gypsy Sally’s wants patrons to feel the vibe of the departed Bayou, the Cellar Door, Desperado’s and Crazy Horse Saloon.

Venue owners David and Karen Ensor, husband and wife, bring a diverse and extensive history of experience, knowledge and passion for the live music industry to their project, the group said.

“As a veteran musician and restaurant worker, this has been a dream a long time coming,” David Ensor said. “We are very excited to create an active relationship with the community to grow and create a space that Georgetown can make its own.”

Cannon’s Fish Market Temporarily Closed

Cannon Fish Market — “purveyors of quality seafood since 1937” — closed Aug. 12. A window notice by the business at 1065 31st St., NW, read in part that Cannon’s “is closing for the next few months . . . for medical reasons.” Calls to the business have not yet been returned.

Italian Restaurant, Rialto, Coming to M Street

Another famous space — once the home of the legendary Guards restaurant which closed last summer — at 2915 M St., NW, is getting a new occupant: Rialto, an Italian eatery, owned by those who own Thunder Burger across the street, as first reported by Washingtonian. The chef will be Thunder Burger’s Ryan Fichter. A mid-September opening is planned.

ShopHouse’s Fresh Fast Food Intrepreneur

August 27, 2013

The Georgetowner sat down with Chipotle’s concept development director Tim Wildin during the first few minutes of its Aug. 19 grand opening of ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen at 2508 M St., NW. ShopHouse is Chipotle’s East Asian concept, developed by Wilden and Chipotle founder and CEO Steve Ells.

How did you get started in the restaurant business?

As a busboy, when I was 16. So, I’ve worked in a restaurant all my life. A waiter in high school, and in college I was bartending. I went to NYU. So, I definitely relied on those tips to get through college. I started working on the corporate side doing a lot of PR and marketing. A position opened up with Chipotle. So, I jumped ship and started working there in 2009. It was so cool. I went from doing something that was boutique and luxury to doing something much more mass, but with integrity and a great mission to take great family-raised food and give it to a lot of people — that really excited me. My background isn’t culinary. I’ve never been a chef, just a really enthusiastic home cook.

ShopHouse is Chipotle’s East Asian concept. How was the idea developed?

Steve Ells had the idea to take Chipotle’s model and drop other cuisines into it. He talked for a long time about Chipotle’s success and how it wasn’t about burritos and tacos, but much more. It’s about taking great, fresh ingredients and cooking them right in front of people — in very little time. For me, it was my background. My mom is Thai. I’m originally from there and would spend every summer back there. It’s the food I love eating, and Steve loves the food. We cooked a couple times together, and I took him to Bangkok to show him the food culture. We spent two weeks eating and gaining weight and by the end had the basic idea of ShopHouse nailed down. We worked on it for about a year and opened in Dupont Circle a year and a half ago. Chipotle is a big company, but this idea wasn’t born out of a boardroom or a survey of what’s the next big flavor trend. It was born out of a love of the food and looking to another culture to be inspired by their “fast food.”. The on-the-go options (in America) are generally pretty bad for you. We wanted to do something really different.

Food sourcing is something you’re doing different. What’s your idea behind it?

Luckily, we have the expertise of Chipotle in terms of working along our supply chain to see what’s out there. We work with a keen eye towards sustainability. We use meats raised without antibiotics and without additive hormones. The ethos of sourcing for ShopHouse is exactly the same as Chipotle. We have such high standards and strict protocol to what we buy that it makes it tough for farmers to only sell part of the animal. When we set this up we decided not to use the same cuts as Chipotle to try and make that market for farmers. Something really great is that our tofu is organic, unlike most soybeans in America. Ours is the highest quality tofu you can get, from Hodo Soy in Oakland, Calif. The quest for that tofu was really interesting. For four months, I was eating more tofu than you should ever consume in your life. All of our fresh produce, cabbage, green beans, broccoli, eggplant, are bought locally. Obviously, that’s not possible all year, but we buy it locally when we can. We’re also looking to switch out vegetables seasonally.

Why D.C.? Why Georgetown?

I live in New York. Nate [Appleman, Chipotle’s culinary director,] who started this with me lives in New York. But the start-up costs for a restaurant there are so high. I can come to D.C. easily and often. Also, D.C. is a great market because it has a great food culture. We’re having a lot of great restaurants opening up here — to be a part of an emerging dinning scene is really cool. D.C. is a great market for Chipotle. It’s a very dense market. The demographics are right. People are busy. So, they need something on the go, but they want something great. It was a good proving ground for our first couple of stores. Dupont is doing really well. We’re seeing regular customers over and over again, which is what success looks like to me. It’s just spreading — by word of mouth.Georgetown is a great neighborhood. Other than Chipotle, I don’t know of another quick service meal where you can go in and pay $6 or $7 for really great food that’s really cooked. We were supposed to open months ago, but there were a number of construction delays.

What food trend do you see in the future?

In creating this, people often tell me that we had a really innovative concept. This style of food is actually really traditional. We were inspired by something that already exists, but in a different part of the world. But as a trend, people are more adventurous and that could be translated into all kinds of things. My focus is ShopHouse. So, I will be building ShopHouse, but Americans are eating spicier foods. They’re eating more vegetables and less meat. Most of all, I hope people are starting to care more about where their food comes from, and that’s driving their dining options.

Chipotle has nearly 1,500 locations. Where does ShopHouse go from here?

ShopHouse is one-by-one. People are speculating that it’s going to roll out everywhere, but you can’t do that. You have to build it slowly to develop a great set of employees. The focus right now is in D.C. We opened in Hollywood about seven weeks ago, and we will be opening one in Santa Monica. We chose L.A. because we were opportunistic with real estate and we thought people in California would really appreciate this kind of food.

If you could open any restaurant anywhere in the world, what would it be and where?

It sounds crazy, but ShopHouse is really my deal. I feel like it’s my baby. To be able to do this is more inspiring to me as an “intrepreneur,” from inside Chipotle, than opening fine dining. I come from years of fine dining — this is where it’s at for me. I get to work with great people and everything is honest about it. Most fast food restaurants don’t have knifes and cutting boards or raw vegetables. To be able to do this and offer it accessibly is really cool. I want to create little spots in city neighborhoods and have them be a relevant part of the community.

Sweetgreen Shut by D.C. Health Dept.

August 22, 2013

The popular Sweetgreen, founded by Georgetown University students and patronized by their fellow Hoyas, got closed for a day by the D.C. Department of Health Aug. 20. It is the company’s original store at 3333 M St., NW. As first reported by Georgetown Patch, the closing led the company to tweet lamely that it was closed for “renovations.”

For 1st Birthday, Luke’s Lobster Offers Live Lobsters

On its one-year anniversary, Aug. 23, Luke’s Lobster Georgetown will roll out live lobster and lobster meat by the pound, along with Maine goods and apparel. Luke’s Lobster, a Maine lobster roll company — with other D.C. spots as well as in New York and Philadelphia — will offer a pre-order program for live lobster pickups every Tuesday and Friday and will have a limited number of lobsters available for same-day sale as well. It will also stock frozen lobster tails at the eatery at 1211 Potomac St., NW.

Mad Fox Brewing Heads to Glover Park

Mad Fox Taproom announced Aug. 12 that it expects to open in Glover Park by first quarter 2014. It will be Mad Fox Brewing Company’s first expansion from Falls Church, Va., to the District. Mad Fox Brewing Company just celebrated the third anniversary of its Falls Church location in July and now has another reason to celebrate. It will take over the property at 2218 Wisconsin Ave., NW, where Mayfield & Pine once was, in September.

Pho Viet and Grille Coming to Book Hill

The East Asian culinary incursion of Georgetown continues: Pho Viet and Grille (Taste of Vietnam) is getting ready to open at 1639 Wisconsin Ave., NW, where Bookhill Bistro used to be.

Ins & Outs: Nike Town, Mie N Yu and Drybar

August 15, 2013

Just Do It: Nike Town to Open Oct. 25

“Nike Georgetown opens 10/25. Your official destination for all things Nike in the nation’s capitol [sic].” So read the Nike D.C. tweet, formally alerting runners, walkers and shoppers to the Washington area’s only Niketown, ready for business Oct. 25. The 3040 M Street address, at the corner of Thomas Jefferson Street, once housed a Barnes & Noble bookstore, its loss widely lamented, and, before that, the movie theater Cerberus.

While there are Nike factory stores in Virginia and Maryland, the large M Street store in the nation’s capital will be a showcase for the Oregon-based company which is the world’s leading supplier of athletics shoes and a major manufacturer of sports equipment. At the end of its fiscal 2012, Nike posted more than $24 billion in revenue.

OUT: Another One Bites the Dust.

Oh, No, It’s Mie N Yu Mie N Yu, the cool Asian fusion, richly painted restaurant at 3125 M St., N.W., with its award-winning, unisex lavatory, closed suddenly Oct. 14.

“It’s hard to believe we’re closing our doors after almost 10 years on M Street,” wrote the
restaurant’s management on its website. “We’ve enjoyed sharing our unique food and beverage flavors with visitors near and far, and the whole Mie N Yu family has so greatly appreciated your support over the years. Thank you for dining with us, for welcoming us into your organizations, for spending a few extra moments with us at the bar. We’ll certainly miss being a part of Georgetown’s vibrant community.”

Upon a request for more information, a Mie N Yu representative replied to the Georgetowner: “Unfortunately, it was a leasing issue, but most of the staff has new jobs lined up. We are excited to see what our team can accomplish now that this chapter has ended.”

Mie N Yu joins a growing list of Georgetown eateries killed or lost during 2012: one of the first, Papa-Razzi Trattoria; during the summer, the Michel Richard’s Citronelle in the Latham Hotel and La Madeleine, the legendary Guards and Georgetown Falafel; and last month, Uno’s Pizzeria; Fino’s Restaurant moved away.

IN: Tip Top Boutique, Fighting Modern-Day Slavery

Innocents at Risk just opened a thrift shop with partner, Dr. Laura Lederer. Tip Top Boutique is at Hamilton Court, 1228 31st St., N.W., across from the Georgetown post office. Funds raised go to Innocents at Risk, Global Centorium and Courtney’s House to benefit anti-trafficking projects. Open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m; (202) 625-4338.

IN: Drybar Opens Oct. 19

Remember, as previously reported, Drybar, a blow dry bar, opens Oct. 19 at 1825 Wisconsin Ave., NW, near Safeway.

IN: Bethesda Nightlife Shuttle Offers Safety, Specials

A new shuttle – with stops at St. Elmo Street, Wisconsin & M and 18th and Connecticut – links the restaurants and bars of the Washington nightlife scene. Allowing a night out without the worry of driving or driving after one or two drinks, the bus may particularly help out Georgetown, which has not Metrorail station.

“The D.C. Hopper is a nightlife shuttle service (not to be confused with a party bus), that
provides cheap, reliable and fun transportation from Bethesda to Georgetown, Dupont Circle and vice versa. Don’t hassle with expensive taxi rides or inconsistent Metro service again.”

But wait, there’s more: “Ride the D.C. Hopper by yourself or with a group of friends, either way, you won’t have to worry about paying bar cover charges or waiting in any lines.That’s right . . . you get a special wristband that excuses you from paying bar cover charges and waiting in line at our participating bars and clubs. The website is TheDCHopper.com.

Back in the Action: Jenny Zinn, Tom Gerber

Jenny Zinn, former manager of the Betsey Johnson store, has a new job. She is at the Magic Wardrobe at 1661 Wisconsin Ave., NW. Betsey Johnson closed all of its retail stores in May and early June.

The adventuresome Thomas Gerber returned to his 35th Street home after four years of working in Hilton Head as a parasail captain. Yes, the senior loan officer has a trusty bulldog by his side.

Three’s a Crowd: Ueno and Kuno Unloading P Street Home

The biotech couple, Ryuji Ueno and Sachiko Kuno, of Sucampo Pharmaceuticals and the S&R Foundation, who made headlines in Georgetown and across the city by buying Evermay and Halcyon House, two of the best historic properties in D.C., are selling a third Georgetown house. With those two great places, it seems it is time to let go of their six-bedroom, four-level townhouse at 3128 P St., NW; they are asking $3.695 million. It does have a second kitchen and a two-car garage with a driveway.