**Roberto Donna**, one of DC?s most famous (and infamous) chefs will reign over the kitchen at **La Forchetta**, a new full service, 116-seat, family-style Italian restaurant on New Mexico Ave. NW, where **Balducci?s** used to be. Owner **Hakan Ilhan** is best known for his Pizza Autentica chain, as well as three **Caf? Cantinas**, three **Einstein Bros. Bagels** and **Gelato Dolce Vita** in Georgetown. The country-style Italian restaurant is slated to open at the end of this month. First announced a few months ago, husband and wife chefs **Emily Sprissler** and **Jason Cote** are finalizing plans to open a casual seafood res?taurant in Glover Park called **Mayfield & Pine**, where **Town Hall** used to be. Sprissler?s face may be familiar, as she appeared on season two of Top Chef in 2006. Her food may be familiar from her time at **Vidalia**. They both worked at **Wegman?s** in Northern Virginia before landing the Glover Park site, and plan to open by the end of April. Chef/owner **Frederik De Pue** signed a lease to open a restaurant called **Table** in D.C.?s Shaw neighborhood on N St. NW. He plans to be open seven days a week, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. The restaurant will serve wine and beer, but only tableside, as there are no plans for a bar. The building was formerly a car repair shop and Pue plans to keep its rustic look (re: lots of concrete). There will be outdoor seating on the roof deck. De Pue owns **42? Catering** and for?merly worked at **Smith Commons**. A summer opening is planned. Ch-ch-ch-changes: **The Reef** in Adams Morgan is about to undergo renovations to give a fresh feel to the space. Renovations will main?ly occur on the middle fish tank floor. Owner **Brian Harrison** plans to install new hardwood floors, and reconfigure the booths. Construction will take place on various weekdays so that he can stay open for business. The ground floor will also be renovated at some point next year. **Oded Weizmann** plans to open an ?urban retro deli gastro-pub? called **Carving Room** in NoMa at 300 Massachusetts Ave. NW. The neighborhood bar and restaurant will serve house-cured, hand-carved meat for their sand?wiches. The 55-seat space plus patio will have an open kitchen with meat carvers up front and a bar with ten taps serving regional beers. The plan is for it to be a quick service place during weekday lunch and transform into a full-service restaurant at night and on weekends. Oded used to manage Silver Diner in Rockville as well as BD?s **Mongolian Barbecue** in Bethesda. He also worked for **Bedrock Management**. Carving Room is slated to open by late summer. 14th and S Streets, NW: **Ted?s Bulletin** from the **Matchbox Food Group** plans to open by end of 4th quarter 2012. **Mark Kuller** plans an upscale Southeast Asian restaurant there, close to the end of the year as well. Openings Update: **Del Frisco?s Grille** plans to open at 12th Street and Pennsylvania Ave. NW, (former Les Halles site) in early July. **Alegria, Bazin?s** Mexican restaurant, should be open by beginning of March next door to sister restaurant, Bazin?s on Church. **Yo! Sushi** at Union Station is now looking at a June opening. **Eric** and **Ian Hilton** are planning to be quite busy this year opening new restaurants. The brothers behind **Marvin**, **The Gibson**, **Blackbyrd**, and **American Ice Company**, plan to open an Italian gastro-pub and wine bar in the former **HR-57** jazz club spot at 1610 14th St. NW, featuring live music. The yet-to-be-named restaurant plans to open this fall. They are also planning to open **The Brixton**, a British pub at 901 U St. NW by end of second quarter 2012, as well as a taqueria called El Ray a few doors down at 919 U Street, NW, in early fall. Not to mention a burger joint called **Satellite Kitchen** at 2047 9th St. NW. Did we mention they also plan to open **Chez Billy**, a French-style bistro in Petworth soon? Chef & GM Update: **Brian McPherson** is the new chef at **Jackson 20** and the **Grille at Morrison House** in Old Town. **Rick Dugan** has been named General Manager of **BRIO Tuscan Grille** in Rockville, MD. He was formerly GM at **O?Donnell?s Sea Grill** in Bethesda and in Kentlands for many years, as well as at **Clyde?s** of Chevy Chase. **Chris Kujala** was named executive pastry chef for **Robert Wiedmaier?s** restaurants. **Maura Delaney** is GM at **McCormick & Schmick?s** in Reston. She had previously been GM at **Morton?s Steakhouse** in Tysons Corner before it closed. **Izakaya Seki**, a 40-seat Japanese bar and restaurant, located in the former **Spott?s Barber Shop** space at 1117 V St. NW, is under construc?tion. Owners of the building and restaurant are **Cizuka Seki** and her father, **Hiroshi Seki**, a chef-owner who had his own place outside of St. Louis. Instead of a bar on the first floor, there will be a nine-seat food counter. The main din?ing room will be on the second level. Although there is no bar, there will be beer, sake and a selection of sh?ch?, a Japanese spirit that was a big hit at the **International Food & Wine Show**. As soon as they figure out how to get gas to the building, they will have a better idea of an opening date. Quick Hits: **Mike Isabella** has targeted 14th and W Streets, NW, for a Greek concept restaurant. **Solly?s Tavern** will soon be expand?ing into **Madjet**, the Ethiopian restaurant space next door, and will offer a food menu. Should be up and running by beginning of March. *Linda Roth Conte is president of Linda Roth Associates, Inc. (LRA), specializing in market?ing initiatives, community outreach and special events for the hospitality industry. Contact her at 703-417-2700 or [Linda@LindaRothPR.com](mailto:email@example.com) or visit her web site at [www.LindaRothPR.com](http://www.lindarothpr.com)*
**Unum**, a contemporary American restaurant, just opened in Georgetown where **Mendocino Grille** used to be. The chef and owner is Phillip Blane, who was a sous chef at **Equinox** in D.C. His restaurant partner is his wife, Laura Schiller, better known as chief of staff for Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). Unum is derived from the Latin ?E pluribus unum? (Out of many, one), which Blane says reflects his cooking. Sound familiar? It?s the phrase that appears on the Great Seal of the United States on your dollar bills. The 12-stool bar remains in the front of the restaurant, but has a new addition ? a reading nook filled with some of the couple?s favorite reads. Wonder if you can take one, and replace one, as you can do when you travel. Top Chef contestant, Emily Sprissler, formerly of **Vidalia**, and her husband, have signed a contract to lease the **Town Hall** restaurant location in Glover Park at 2218 Wisconsin Ave., NW. She plans to call the place **Mayfair & Pine** and hopes to open by April. Sometimes, you can come home again. Arlington native, Scot Harlan, plans to open **The Green Pig**, an American/French bistro in the old American Flatbread space on Fillmore Street in Clarendon. He?s aiming for simple and plans to offer ?redneck charcuterie.? He previously worked in New York City at **Daniele, Bouley and Danube**, as well as in Virginia at the **Inn at Little Washington, Inox** and **2941**. His sous chef is Will Sullivan who most recently worked at **Low Country** in NYC. Quick Hits: **Stubs Kitchen and Wine** signed a lease to open in the long-vacant corner at 1401 T St, NW (next to **Policy** restaurant). A casual eatery by the name **SnitchEye Wine Bar** plans to open at 3rd St. and Florida Ave, N.W., by late spring or early summer . . . Cava Grill at Tysons Corner is targeting a March opening . . . A new sandwich and salad place named Carvy Cafe plans to open in the old Spice Indian Bistro space on 19th Street, N.W. ... **District Taco** (known as a food truck) plans to open a brick-and-mortar store at 1309 F Street, N.W., by spring . . . **Southern Hospitality** replaced **Adams Mill Bar and Grill** located at 1813 Adams Mill Rd, N.W., in Adams Morgan. Everything is southern ? from the d?cor to the food to the cocktails to the beers. **Sushi Para** opened in the former Taco Bell/KFC space at 4221 Connecticut Ave, N.W. **Rosa Mexicano** just opened its third area location at 5225 Wisconsin Ave., N.W. in D.C.?s Friendship Heights, seating 165 with patio seating when weather permits. Expect to see some new menu items. **Ashok Bajaj** empire continues to expand, with the opening of **Rasika West End** at corner of 22nd St. and New Hampshire Ave, N.W., in the luxury condo building, 22 West. It follows in the footsteps of the original **Rasika** in Penn Quarter. The restaurant plans to serve upscale American cuisine with some heavy Italian influence. Chef Vikram Sunderam will oversee both kitchens. A March opening is planned. ? Chef & GM Update: Janis McLean is the new executive chef at **Le Zinc** (across from 2Amys) on Macomb St, N.W. Previously, she was the executive chef at **15 ria** at the Doubletree Hotel at Scott Circle. **Tonic** restaurant in Foggy Bottom (where the sign says Quigley?s Pharmacy) has a new executive chef, Michael Degginger, who most recently was at **Jake?s American Grille** in Tenleytown. Corey Randolph will take over as general manager of **The Melting Pot** in Reston in March, and Kristy Martin will take over as GM of The Melting Pot in Arlington?s Ballston district. **901 Restaurant & Bar** executive chef Thomas Hall, previously of **Ten Penh**, is using Asian flavors again to create a new menu and concept for 901 in Penn Quarter.? Expect small plates with big flavors.? Former Clyde?s Restaurant Group corporate chef, John Guattery, is now part of the management team at Matchbox Management, which owns and operates **matchbox** (Penn Quarter, Barracks Row, Rockville and soon Logan Circle), **Ted?s Bulletin** (Barracks Row and soon Logan Circle) and **DC3** (Barracks Row). This local restaurant group is primed for dynamic growth in 2012 . What better local restaurant group experience for dynamic growth than Clyde?s? Openings Update: Mike Isabella?s small plates Mexican restaurant, **Bandolaro**, plans to be open by March in Georgetown where Hook used to be. **Brio Tuscan Grille** in Rockville targeted Feb. 29 as its opening date.
**Bryan Voltaggio**, chef/owner of **Volt** in Frederick, Md., is in high gear. In addition to his new **North Market Kitchen** in downtown Frederick as well as his new bistro **Range** (as in ?down on the ? ?) in Chevy Chase, he also plans to open a soup-and-sandwich concept on Frederick?s Carroll Creek Promenade, where **La Dolce Vita** used to be, called **Lunchbox**. The casual 30-seat restaurant is slated to be open before the end of the year. In the first quarter of 2012, Volt will introduce a prix-fixe $80 per person menu that changes each month, to replace the a la carte menu. Lunch service will be offered only on the weekends. Bryan also has an idea for a diner, yet to be named, that he wants to open on East Street in Frederick in what used to be a car dealership. He hopes for an early second quarter 2012 opening. And speaking of Bryan/Brian(s), **Brian McBride** has joined forces with **Robert Wiedmaier** (**Marcel?s**, **Brasserie Beck**, **Brabo** and **Mussel Bar**) to create a model for restaurants he and Wiedmaier hope to open together. He?s currently headquartered at Brasserie Beck, creating protocols and menus. They have just hired a new chef de cuisine, **Will Morris**, formerly of **Bourbon Steak**. It was time for new challenges and new horizons, as Brian had been at **Park Hyatt** for 25 years. **Mike Isabella** is moving at warp speed, it seems. **Graffiato** has been open only a few months and now has plans to open a Mexican restaurant in early 2012 in Georgetown where **Hook** was, until it caught fire ? literally. **Bandolero** will serve modern Mexican small plates. The frequently-changing menu will feature ceviche, tacos, vegetables and ?carbons,? which are Mike?s version of fajitas. **Jonathan Umbel** remains owner of the space. **Pie Sisters** plans to open this month on M Street in Georgetown near Key Bridge. It appears the parent company is **O?B Sweet**, created by the **Blakely** sisters: **Alli**, **Erin** and **Cat**, who announce on their website that ?Homemade pies are and have always been a staple in our family tradition ? ? Falls Church restaurant landmark, 2941, will close the first two weeks of 2012 to undergo renovations ? from the d?cor to the menu. It will become more casual and more appealing to every-week dining, not just special occasions. This more casual concept has worked well for **Michel Richard?s Central** and **Fabio Trabocchi?s Fiola**. **Stephen Starr** is to Philadelphia what **Danny Meyer** is to New York. Now, he?s set his scope in D.C. and plans to open a French bistro at 14th and Q Streets, N.W., before the 2012 fall session of Congress starts. His big hit concepts in Philly include: **Buddakan**, **Continental** (love the martinis), **Morimoto** and **El Vez**. Renowned mixologist (PX/Restaurant Eve) **Todd Thrasher** plans to open a new bar called **TNT**, named for his son **Tristan Noah Thrasher**. It will accompany **Eamonn?s: A Dublin Chipper** on Columbia Pike in Arlington. A March or April opening is planned. He will offer two cocktail menus ? one of old favorites, and one that?s brand new. **Quick Hits:** **Matchbox Management Group** signed a deal to open a **Ted?s Bulletin** at 14th and S Streets, just a block from the next **Matchbox** to open, at 14th and T Streets, NW. **Geoff Tracy** signed a lease to open in Rockville, where **Againn** and **Houston?s** used to be. He has his sights on a second-quarter 2012 opening. **SoHo**, aka Southern Hospitality, serving American food, will open at 1813 Adams Mill Road, N.W., where **Adams Mill Bar and Grill** used to be, by the end of the year. **Teaism** plans to open in Old Town Alexandria in March. Plans to open in the U Street Corridor are on hold for now. **Hawthorne Homemade Organic Juice Bar & Market** plans to open on Macomb St, N.W., where **River House** used to be. **Maddy?s Tap Room** inked a deal to occupy 1100 13th Street, N.W. **Cava Mezze Grill** has leased a 2,100-square-foot space for its next location in the Mosaic District (Merrifield, Va.) now under development. They have locations in Rockville, Bethesda, Capitol Hill, Clarendon and, soon, Tysons Corner. **More Quick Hits:** Look for a new bakery concept from **Mark Furstenberg**, formerly of **Bread Line**. **Maranon Caf?** will open in the old **Tegeste** location on 14th Street, N.W. This new Latino full-service restaurant plans to serve Mexican, Salvadorian, and Dominican food. **BlackFinn American Grille** signed a deal to open in Halstead Square in Merrifield, Va. It plans to open in summer of 2012. **Jason McCarther** plans to open **Box Bar & Grill** in Bethesda, featuring 15 televisions with all sports all the time and burgers and wings. Although **Chidogo?s** at 14th and U Streets, N.W., has closed -- as have several other retail operations there due to building renovation ? Chidogo?s **Robert Hisaoka** continues to move forward, planning to open in College Park before end of year and at National Harbor by Spring 2012. **Steak and Cheese**, the new concept from restaurateur **Michael Landrum**, created of **Ray?s The Steaks** dynasty, stealthly opened in Rosslyn where **Hell-Burger II** (also his place) was. They slice the beef ? not shave it. One of several reasons why they do not claim to be an authentic cheesesteak place, hence the name. **Openings Update:** **Nick?s Riverside Grill** and **Tony & Joe?s** are now slated to re-open in April, in Georgetown Harbour. Nick?s will expand into the former **Cabanas** space and will offer an expanded menu for lunch, dinner and brunch. Ray?s The Steaks in East River (Anacostia) plans to be open in January, with no menu changes planned. New York-based **Boqueria** now plans to be open in January at their downtown D.C. spot at 19th and M Streets, N.W. Cathal and **Meshelle Armstrong?s** ?epicurean emporium,? **Society Fair**, is expected to open by Christmas. It will include a bakery, butchery, wine shop, bar and demo kitchen. Four Fields (Ireland?s 4Ps) in Cleveland Park negotiated with its new owners to stay open until March 2012. **Chef Update:** **Duane Keller** is the new executive chef for the **Hamilton Crown Plaza Hotel** and **14K Restaurant**. Keller was most recently executive chef at the **Mason Inn and Conference Center Hotel** in Fairfax, and before that at **Capital Grill** in Chevy Chase. **Mio** is getting a new chef **Giovanna Huyke**, who is apparently the Julia Child of Puerto Rico. **Zentan** sushi chef **Jason Zheng** will be working for **The Hamilton**, the newest venue from **Clyde?s Restaurant Group**, when it opens this month. **Alexander Zeppos** is the new chef at **Logan Tavern**. Before that, he was the executive chef and director of operations for **Growlers** of Gaithersburg. **Chef Robert Weland** recently of **Poste** at the **Hotel Monaco** is now at **Cork Wine Bar** at Logan Circle. And chef **Ron Tanaka** of Cork Wine Bar is now at New Heights in Woodley Park. **Mari Vanna** is a Russian home-cooking themed restaurant planning to open on Connecticut Ave., N.W., in Dupont Circle next fall. It will be three stories and will have d?cor that is noticeably Russian-grandmother-esque (think tchotchkes). It will have a club-like atmosphere (think **Mansion** on O). It?s owned by **The Ginza Group**, which owns Mari Vanna locations in Moscow, New York and London as well as more than 70 other concepts in Russia. Menu varies from beef stroganoff to blinis topped with caviar. And vodka. Just like Jose Andres? minibar within Caf? Atlantico (now America Eats Tavern), **Amy Brandwein** will offer a seasonal 12-course menu at **Tavola 12**, a 12-seat restaurant within **Casa Nonna** on Connecticut Ave, N.W., near Dupont Circle.
This weekend, Georgetowners celebrated the year's hottest holiday with a few Scoops. Georgetown Scoops, that is. The new ice cream store, located at 2818 Pennsylvania Ave., officially opened its doors on July 4. Employees said that Georgetown customers have kept the new store busy, especially at night. The store has been in the works for about a year and chose the site for its popular, high-traffic location. The store will likely attract its share of college students, with its acceptance of the GWU's GWorld card and central location between George Washington University and Georgetown University. The ice cream is “home-made” locally, just outside Washington. Unique but already popular flavors include ginger, cleopatra (vanilla with dates) and decadence, which is 72 percent dark chocolate. The store also offers sundaes, frozen coffees made with ice cream, all-natural fruit smoothies, cupcakes, pastries and salads. [gallery ids="99162,102959,102961" nav="thumbs"]
-Clyde’s Restaurant Group is expanding outside its familiar borders with a new project on 14th Street (now Borders bookstore) that incorporates live music into their popular food and beverage operations. The working name is Hamilton Square Grill, aptly named after the neighborhood. There is a lot of renovation to make it a music spot, so a late 2011 opening is planned. New York Invasion (continued): Manhattan landmark P.J. Clarke’s is the latest of the New York restaurants making a move into D.C. They plan to open at 16th & K Streets, where Olives was, by the end of September. Just around the corner is another New York landmark, Kellari. Speaking of high-profile New Yorkers, Bobby Flay has been checking out the restaurant scene in D.C., so look out for a new casual concept from the popular chef and TV personality. Pure Hospitality Restaurant Group’s Jonathan Umbel will open a second Tackle Box at the former site of a McDonald’s in Cleveland Park by year’s end. He’s also hiring a consulting chef — to be revealed soon — who will oversee all his restaurants, Hook and Georgetown’s Tackle Box among them. Pizza Autentica is opening on Third Street S.W., its fifth location in the area. They have other restaurants open in Penn Quarter (Seventh Street), Tenleytown (4200 Wisconsin Ave.), Downtown (15th Street) and Ballston. Also opening soon: Look for a new steakhouse to open after Labor Day in the 600 Watergate spot, with some familiar faces running it. Keep your eyes peeled for a Buzz Bakery and Rustico restaurant in Clarendon. Vapiano is planning to open a new store in Bethesda before end of summer. That will make five in the area. Rockville-based Panas Gourmet Empanadas will open in the P Street space vacated by Pizza Paradiso. Federico Garcia Lopez is making empanadas that are not necessarily like his mother used to make. Lopez acknowledges that many of his flavors are “more sophisticated and less traditional,” but he plans to keep Mom’s beef empanada on the menu (or risk her wrath). Opening soon: Matchbox in Rockville, MD is now slated to open in late fall. Sala Thai just opened its newest location in Petworth — props to that part of the city. Casa Nonna in downtown D.C. is aiming for an August opening date. Georgetown’s Serendipity3 is still renovating, but plans to be open in the fall. Roberto Donna says Galileo III will open in August. Chef Update: Michel Richard has hired Levi Meznick to run his newest operation, Michel, at The Ritz-Carlton in Tyson’s Corner. He is the former executive chef at The Jockey Club, but his CV also includes stints at New York’s Per Se, Daniel and Café Boulud. Enzo Febbraro, formerly of D’Acqua, is now at Bond 45 at National Harbor. Chef Ed Witt is no longer at Morso in Georgetown. Chef RJ Cooper is no longer at Dupont’s Vidalia, but plans to open his own place soon. Manager Update: Dave Crane, formerly of Morton’s in Bethesda, is now running the Lexus President’s Club at National Park for Levy Restaurants. Andres Hayes has been named general manager of B. Smith’s at Union Station. Linda Roth Conte is president of Linda Roth Associates, Inc., 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Chef Robert Wiedmaier will expand his restaurant empire into Maryland when he opens The Mussel Bar by RW sometime in May (if the construction gods allow). The Woodmont Avenue location in Bethesda used to house Levante’s. Besides Belgian beer, mussels, fries and rock ’n’ roll, Wiedmaier will offer a basic menu of limited choices of fish, steak, crepes salads, oysters and, okay, two desserts. In a few weeks, the team behind Clarendon’s Liberty Tavern will open two new eateries in the same neighborhood: first they’ll debut Northside Social, a coffeehouse and wine bar, which will open in Clarendon near Liberty. Chef Liam LaCivita will oversee both. Owners will also open Lyon Hall, a European-style brasserie, on Washington Boulevard. UK native Andy Bennett will be the chef de cuisine. Bennett has impressive credentials, as he worked for Daniel Boulud in New York. Robert Valencia has been named pastry chef for all three establishments. He hails from Boulevard in San Francisco and Blue Fin in New York. Chef Update: Mark Hellyar has been named executive chef of Hook and Tackle Box restaurants in Georgetown. He served as chef de cuisine at the Oak Door at the Grand Hyatt, but he was in D.C. before that, as chef de cuisine at D.C.’s Blue Duck Tavern. Barry Zoslow has been named executive chef at Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s Tallula and EatBar. Previously, he was exec chef at Mendocino Grille and Wine Bar in Georgetown. Kyle Bailey and Tiffany MacIsaac, formerly of Allen & Delancey, are now at Birch & Barley/ChurchKey in D.C. Pete’s Apizza, with one location in Columbia Heights, is slated to open a second on Wisconsin Avenue at Fessenden Street. It serves New Haven-style pizza (thin-crusted). New Haven-style pizza was introduced to D.C. by relocated brother and sister pizza lovers Michael and Alicia Wilkinson, from New Haven. Owner Diton Pashaj says Rustik Neighborhood Tavern is slated to open in Bloomingdale at 1832 First St. this May. It will offer lunch, brunch, dinner, happy hour and outdoor seating. Now they just need their permit. Tackle Box in Georgetown has plans to expand into Bethesda and Penn Quarter, according to its menu notes. A wine bar by the name of Dickson Wine is slated to open on U Street where Project 4 Art Gallery was, in the Dickson Building. Will PJ Clarke’s (another New York restaurant!) really open in the old Olives location? Bill Thomas of Bourbon and Breadsoda in Glover Park plans to transform an old gym into Jack Rose, a restaurant and bar at 2007 18th St. Now slated to open in April: Ted’s BULLETIN on Barrack’s Row. American comfort food with Art Deco décor, and featuring a shaketender mixologist for milkshakes. Ted’s BULLETIN is from the folks who brought you Matchbox in Chinatown and Capitol Hill. Roberto Donna’s Galileo III, in the old Butterfield 9 space is also slated to open this month.
-Mike Anderson of Mango Mike’s has been Alexandria-centric in his restaurant ventures. Staying within those borders, he has set his sights on Delray. He also set his sights on barbecue—and found the BBQ Boys, aka three lobbyists from whom he has licensed the name of his new barbecue restaurant – Pork Barrel BBQ. The tag line makes it game-set-match: “Monumental Flavor.” Next door, he will open Chop Chop, an Asian fusion restaurant. The third space is a lounge, open evenings, serving sushi and saki. The three spaces will share a kitchen, storage area, and general manager. Cathal and Meshelle Armstrong will expand their Old Town Alexandria empire with a butchery, market, and bakery on Washington Street, and furthermore with Virtue Feed & Grain, a casual Irish and American gastropub named after the grain store that used to be there. More recently, it’s where Olsson’s bookstore used to be on Union Street. Thompson Hospitality’s American Tap Room will open its second location in Bethesda. Similar to the original in Reston, the Bethesda restaurant will feature entertainment in the form of a piano. It will be in fine form for Sunday jazz brunch or, of course, if Sir Elton John happens to stop by. A July opening is planned. Food & Wine Co. will open on Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda this summer where Pizzeria Uno used to be. It is geared for those who love wine with their meal, but not the usual restaurant mark-up price. Owner Francis Namin is a veteran of Centro Italian Grill (also in Bethesda) and Red Tomato Café in D.C. He plans to charge only a $5 mark-up, which is more like a corkage fee. Francis is not hiding the actual price, as he sells wine at Cork 57, his Bethesda-based wine shop. The food will salute French, Italian and American cuisine with everything from steamed mussels & fries, to pasta & pizzas, to sandwiches & burgers. Paolo Buffa, formerly of Centro Italian Grill, has been named executive chef. He will be joined by Kyle Christie, from Wolfgang Puck Group. A June opening is planned. No sleep this summer for the Matchbox guys. They plan to open a third location on the-very-happening Barracks Row on Eighth Street S.E.. Plans are for DC-3 Dogs to be a sandwich shop with something special for hot dog aficionados, i.e. the “Chi-town” char dog with tomatoes and sport peppers as well as a traditional Coney Island dog. Partner Drew Kim is excited to work his secret homemade kimchi recipe into a beef dog recipe. The H Street corridor (aka the Atlas District) keeps challenging the rest of the culinary community in D.C. Next to open: The Queen Vic, a British-style gastropub, from the team behind The Pug. A summer opening is forecast. The gravely named Italian restaurant Vendetta is a collaboration between Atlas impresario Joe Englert and Teddy Folkman, the chef at Granville Moore’s. Rest assured, the restaurant’s name will not mirror the effects eat your meal. Quick Hits: Café Manna will take over the location of Good Thyme Food Court at 1900 M St. serving much of the same. Michel is the official name of Michel Richard’s new restaurant in The Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner. An early autumn opening is scheduled. Dave Crane, formerly of Morton’s in Bethesda, is now general manger of the Lexus President’s Club operated by Levy Restaurants, at Nationals Park. New Jersey-based McLoone’s Pier House is slated to open at National Harbor the end of June, serving American-style food both indoors and outdoors. Pizzeria Orso, Falls Church’s upcoming pizzeria with a pedigree, is aiming for an early June opening. Openings update: Crumbs Bake Shop (another cupcake joint) signed its first location in Union Station. Over on the other side of town, in Georgetown, Sprinkles hopes to be selling cupcakes by July. Owner Qaiser Kazmi is looking towards a July opening for Merzi, his Indian QSR concept on Seventh Street in Penn Quarter. Roberto Donna’s Galileo III is slated to open where Butterfield 9 used to be by end of June. Carmine’s in Penn Quarter is aiming for an end of summer August/September opening. The new Great American Restaurant Group restaurant in Fairfax, Ozzie’s Corner Kitchen, is slated to open in early October. Mad Fox Brewery will be the second brew pub to open in quaint Falls Church. Bill Madden, of Leesburg’s Vintage 50 Restaurant & Brew Lounge, is the brewmaster. Russel Cunningham, formerly of Agraria and Centerplate catering, is the executive chef. 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
Hank’s Oyster Bar & Lounge at 1624 Q Street NW has doubled in size with both inside and outside dining as well as a private upstairs room that can accommodate up to 24 guests. Architect Eric Gronning transformed the space into a hip neighborhood oasis. For those into creative cocktail menus, that has expanded too as chef/owner Jamie Leeds hired a beverage director, Dana Mosbarger, and a mixologist, Megan Coyle. If you appreciate great limoncello (as I do), Megan created two types of delicious, authentic house-made limoncello. Ch-ch-ch-changes: Michael Sternberg re-acquired Harry’s Tap Room in Clarendon and plans to re-open it as Market Tavern later this month … Härth at Hilton McLean Tysons Corner just opened their new 52-seat outdoor patio complete with fire pits and fall cocktails to warm guests up inside and out … Ballston’s Willow Restaurant has expanded with a new bakery and casual bistro (lower price points) inside. Instead of opening a new restaurant, chefs/owners and wife/husband, Tracy O’Grady and Brian Wolken expanded within their existing space. The bistro’s small plates menu offers a variety of vegetarian options. The new “Kate at Willow” allows Kate Jansen to stretch her pastry chef creativity, which is a bonus for us all. The Ritz-Carlton, Georgetown has changed Degrees Lounge into Degrees Bistro, a French-inspired bistro with banquette seating for 46, serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and casual bar food. This new dining space was made necessary by their conversion of Fahrenheit restaurant into an event space. He’s not just the master of fine dining French restaurants. Michel Richard plans to open a restaurant focused on meatballs in Penn Quarter at 626 E St. NW. Not just meatballs, but meatballs to be ordered with pasta, salad or sandwiches at prices up to $10. Slated to open in November, it will be called Meatballs, which is also the name of one of my favorite Bill Murray movies. Chef & GM Update: Joe Sluger has been named the new general manager for The Melting Pot in Gaithersburg. The new chef de cuisine at Watershed by Todd Gray is Godofredi Vaquerano, who has spent 11 years working with Todd Gray and held the same position at Equinox. Todd named Karen Nichols the executive chef at Equinox – a first in the restaurant’s history. Karen served as sous-chef at Gramercy Tavern in New York City. Openings Update: Cafe Deluxe, now operated by Clover Restaurant Group (CRG), will open in the RIO Center in Gaithersburg in mid-November, serving American brasserie fare. This will be its fourth location, with others in Tysons Corner, Bethesda, and Cleveland Park in D.C. CRG also plans to open its second Tortilla Coast at 15th and P Streets, NW in Logan Circle in mid-December. The new location will vary from its Tex-Mex sister restaurant on Capitol Hill and offer authentic Mexican fare … PAUL USA, the bakery that opened its first D.C. location at 801 Pennsylvania, NW has recently opened its second location on Wisconsin Avenue near M Street, NW… Wagamama, which has been expected to open in Penn Quarter for a while now, is now shooting for a spring 2012 opening in the space on 7th St, NW formerly occupied by Olsson’s Books … The second Founding Farmers farm-to-table-themed restaurant is slated to open in early November at 12505 Park Potomac Ave. in Potomac, Md. It will be overseen by corporate chef Joe Goetze, executive chef Rob Ross and pastry chef Courtney Goldian. Quick Hits: Mike Cordero, owner of Caribbean Breeze, Malibu Grill and Aqua Vida in Old Town plans to open Bronx Pizza in early December in Clarendon. Sushiko has a combination ramen and izakaya (Japanese pub) restaurant called Daikaya, slated to open next year at 705 Sixth St., NW in Penn Quarter … Pizza CS, a pizzeria slated to open in the first half of November in Rockville (where Three Brothers Italian Restaurant used to be), will feature Neapolitan pizza. Owners/operators are Ankur Rajpara and John Allen, formerly of local restaurant group, Latin Concepts. Bethesda Bagels is slated to open in the former Johnny Rockets space at 1718 Connecticut Ave. NW in north Dupont Circle by end of November. Jason Story and Carolina Gomez plan to open a charcuterie shop called Three Little Pigs in Petworth at 5111 Georgia Ave., NW by year’s end. Their plan calls for a sandwich station, retail space and charcuterie classes. 2100 Prime has opened in The Fairfax Hotel where The Jockey Club used to hold court. The new chef is Mark Timms, native of Sheffield, England, who has re-vamped the menu with lower prices and a greater focus on sustainable and local foods. Chef/owner Patrick Bazin and his wife Julie plan to open a new authentic Mexican restaurant called Alegria, next door to their restaurant Bazin’s on Church, in Falls Church. It is slated to open in late December of 2011. The menu will showcase authentic Mexican food with a very strong connection to local growers and specialty regional suppliers. Outdoor dining on the patio will be offered as weather allows. The name Alegria (which means happiness) was chosen as a result of a Facebook page contest to name the new restaurant. The winner won dinner for eight on opening night for their winning submission. Attention chefs: MasterChef Season Three Open Calls are taking place. You will be given a few minutes to plate your dish at the given casting location, but there will not be a kitchen to cook or warm it up so come prepared. Visit MasterChefCasting.com. The event takes place Nov. 12 at Trinity Washington University from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jamie Stachowski and his son, Josef, are taking over Griffin Market in Georgetown to open what Jamie calls “a rustic Hansel & Gretel house of beef,” featuring salamis and sausages as well as sandwiches (hand-cut pastrami – I’m there), beef, pork, and more exotic items like duck pate, fois gras, confit; prepared items like turkey for Thanksgiving, short ribs and meatballs. They plan to be up and running by November. The Capital Hilton at 16th and K Streets, NW, will open its restaurant,North Gate Grill, in November. It will open serving breakfast and lunch, before dinner service is added to the dining program. The name, North Gate Grill, refers to its location down the street from the north gate of the White House. The chef is Daniel Murray, formerly of Renaissance Cleveland. But before that, he worked here in D.C. at Blackie’s. Ray’s the Steaks and Ray’s Hell Burger owner Michael Landrum has opened the latest restaurant in his Ray’s empire: Ray’s to the Third, selling steak frites 13 different ways. It’s only open for dinner, with plans for lunch service in the future, located at 1650 Wilson Blvd in the Rosslyn/Courthouse area of Arlington. Richard Pawlowski, owner/operator of numerous Cosi and Qdoba Mexican Grill locations in the metro area, is opening America’s first outpost of London-based YO!Sushi in D.C. inside Union Station in 2012. The U.K. eatery is known for its conveyor-belt style of sushi service, also known as a Japanese “kaiten” sushi bar, as the sushi rolls, sashimi and Asian salads and dishes are color-coded as the belt moves past. Pawlowski has teamed up with his good friend, Darren Wightman, who will serve as operating partner for YO!Sushi. Wightman was formerly the executive chef for YO!Sushi in the U.K. He also worked for London-based Ping Pong Dim Sum as executive chef. Quick Hits BGR: The Burger Joint plans to open before year’s end in Gaithersburg’s Rio Center as well as in the Cascades in Sterling, Va. Also slated to open at Washingtonian Center: Nando’s Peri Peri and Café Deluxe. Al Forno, an Italian trattoria will open this fall at 3201 New Mexico Ave., NW, in the former Balducci’s space. The restaurant will feature a wood-burning oven for Neapolitan pizza, and outdoor dining, just like at its neighbor, Chef Geoff’s. New York-based Boqueria plans to open in Dupont Circle this fall, their first location outside of New York. They offer Barcelona-inspired tapas. Filter Coffeehouse plans to open its second location in Foggy Bottom near the World Bank at 19th and I Streets, NW. The plan is for it to be open before year’s end. EatWell DC who brought us Logan Tavern, Grillfish, Commissary and The Heights, will open another Logan Circle eatery, The Pig at 1320 14th St., NW, featuring – what else? – pork. They will source foods from their own farm, EatWell Natural Farm in La Plata, Md., and use locally raised pigs. They will also offer craft cocktails, American beers and wines from eco-conscious producers as well as small batch bourbons. A second quarter 2012 opening is planned. Relying mostly on the money he has made through his technology business, Steve Acup is opening Log Inn at Lucketts at Route 15 and Spinks Ferry Road. Although his plans call for a March 2012 opening, he has set up a mobile trailer with a commercial kitchen to give the neighbors a taste of what to expect at Log Inn. The restaurant will serve pizza, pasta, ribs, Italian beef sandwiches and cheesecakes. Acup is developing the recipes but hiring people to cook and execute the concept for the up to 125-seat restaurant. Chef Drew Trautmann, formerly of Mendocino Grille & Wine Bar in Georgetown, and Jawad Saadaoui, of Redwood in Bethesda, plan to open District Kitchen this month in the space where Jandara used to be at 2606 Connecticut Ave., NW, in Woodley Park. The 75-seat space will offer American food, similar to Woodberry Kitchen (re: rustic) in Baltimore. Drew’s sous chef is Daniel Velasco, whom he worked with at Mendocino Grille. Town Hall restaurant, 2218 Wisconsin Ave, NW in Glover Park will be moving a block north into the old Blue Ridge space at 2340 Wisconsin Ave., NW. Eli Hengst and Jared Rager, owners of both places, negotiated a deal that also allows Town Hall to assume Blue Ridge’s liquor license. Their former space now also comes with its own liquor license, a very attractive amenity these days. Town Hall plans to be open in their new space by Thanksgiving. The Georgetown ANC approved a liquor license application for Malmaison, a restaurant slated to open at the corner of 34th and K Streets, NW. The owners also own and operate Cafe Bonaparte at Wisconsin Avenue and P Street, NW. The new dessert cafe’s name can translate into “naughty house” or “ill-fated domain” but is actually a reference to Napoleon’s Château de Malmaison. Chef Update Dennis Marron is the new executive chef at Poste Moderne Brasserie, adjacent to Kimpton’s Monaco Hotel near the Verizon Center. He comes from Kimpton’s Old Town property, the Grille at Morrison House and Jackson 20. Mark Timms has been named executive chef at 2100 Prime, the restaurant in The Fairfax Hotel that used to be the Jockey Club. Openings Update Passion Food Hospitality will open Burger, Tap & Shake before it opens District Commons at 2200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, at Washington Circle in Foggy Bottom, which is sprouting foodservice options each month. District Commons will feature 20 American beers on tap. It will also be one of the few places in the area open for breakfast. Both should be open before the fourth quarter of 2011… The folks who own Tryst in Adams Morgan plan to open a taqueria at Lamont & 11 Street, NW. The working name is Margot’s Chair. If the construction gods allow, a January 2012 opening is planned. … Enzo Fargione’s Elisir on 11th Street, NW, in Penn Quarter plans to be open in October 2011 … The Hamilton, brought to you by Clyde’s Restaurant group in the former Borders space near Old Ebbitt Grill, will have three bars upstairs and two bars downstairs, and plans to be open before year’s end. Roti Mediterranean Grill plans to open on F Street, NW, the end of this month, and at Union Station, in first quarter of 2012. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her web site at www.lindarothpr.com
The coffee shop revolution has hit a new front with the opening of the uber-cool (check out the gossip columns for who goes there in LA) The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, at the Washington Hilton. It will be their second East Coast store, the first being Miami. It is slated to open this fall in the Connecticut Avenue lobby, with easy access for commuters in the Dupont Circle corridor. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is a Los Angeles, California-based coffee chain, with over 750 locations in 22 countries, including Australia, Brunei, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Israel, South Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, Sri Lanka United Arab Emirates and Vietnam. It’s official: the guys who brought you Matchbox have signed a lease to open at 14th and T, NW. This will be the fourth Matchbox in the D.C. area, as they also own and operate a fifth matchbox in Palm Springs, Ca. Chris George plans to open Memphis Barbeque in the former Mackey’s Pub space in Crystal City before summer ends. A significant facelift is in the works. George got his start with Houston’s, but has also worked at Occidental Grill and Mike’s American Grill. There will also be a large patio for dining when the weather permits. Bistro Le Zinc has arrived just in time to take advantage of the recent release of Woody Allen’s movie, “Midnight in Paris.” The Macomb Street bistro is owned and operated by Brasserie Beck’s former manager John Warner and executive chef David Ashwell, who also cooked at Marcel’s. The name comes from the term “les zincs” referring to the pewter bar counter tops often found in French cafes. There is seating for 60 inside and 20 on the patio. The head chef of Café Atlantico, Richard Brandenburg, has been hired by Edens & Avant, one of the big boys in real estate development, as its first director of culinary strategy. Café Atlantico closed in June to make room for America Eats Tavern, the edible collaboration between Jose Andres’ ThinkFoodGroup and the National Archives. The retail space on the corner of the 4th and Massachusetts Ave. NW (NoMa) will be the home to a new “European Café with wine bar” to be called TEL’VEH. Chef Bryan Voltaggio has two restaurants in the works, both slated for next year. The first will be in Frederick, Voltaggio's hometown and the site of Volt. The working name for the 10,000-square-foot space is North Market Kitchen, and it'll have a large dining room, a store, and exhibition kitchen with stations for pasta, raw seafood, cheese, baked goods, and rotisserie meats. Voltaggio was inspired by New York's Eataly. Closer to D.C. will be a bistro/steakhouse hybrid in Chevy Chase Pavilion, also home to a Cheesecake Factory. Voltaggio's 220-seat restaurant will have an open kitchen. Speaking of Eataly, rumor is that Joe Bastianich and Mario Batali are scouting sites in D.C. to open an Eataly, which is comprised of a food hall that sells gourmet foods and several restaurants. They will need a big space. Developer Forest City Washington announced Monday the signing of seven new restaurants anchored by a Harris Teeter grocery store at its new project called The Yards near Nationals Park. The restaurants, all slated to open in 2012, will include Potbelly, Buzz Bakery, Austin Grill Express, Kruba Thai and Sushi, BRB-Be Right Burger, Huey’s 24/7 Diner and a brew pub from Neighborhood Restaurant Group, the group behind Birch & Barley and ChurchKey. Chef Update: ThinkFoodGroup has promoted Joe Raffa, the head chef at Oyamel, to culinary operations director for the restaurant company, overseeing the culinary operations of 11 concepts in three U.S. markets. He will be replaced at Oyamel by industry veteran John Paul Damato, formerly the head chef of Jaleo in Bethesda. Chef Richard Beckel is the culinary force behind Thompson Hospitality’s BRB: Be Right Burger, awhile he is head chef at American Tap Room. A Culinary Institute of America in NY graduate, Chef Beckel has worked at Hooked Seafood Restaurant in Sterling, Va. as well as The Caucus Room in Penn Quarter, D.C. Managers Update: Gil Fornaris has been hired as General Manager of Ping Pong Dim Sum at the new Dupont Circle location – slated to open in September, but will take on the roll of Operations Manager for both that and the Penn Quarter location. Morton’s, The Steakhouse in Georgetown has a new Sales and Marketing Manager, Carla McCully, who hails from Hilton Dulles. Openings Update: Shaw’s Tavern slated to open by August on Florida Ave., NW. It appears the restaurants on the Georgetown waterfront at Washington Harbour will not be open until spring 2012. Pinkberry, the tart frozen yogurt shop, plans to open in Georgetown in October. RJ Cooper’s Rogue 24 opened on July 27, which is why he could not do the Chefs Go Fresh motorcycle ride on July 26 (bummer). Bobby Flay is planning to open another Bobby's Burger Palace at 2121 K Street, NW on Aug. 16 with his famed crunch burgers and boozy milk shakes.