Two longtime veterans of **The Palm** plan to open their own restaurant, **Epic Smokehouse,** in Arlington near Pentagon City Mall. It will be halfway between a fine-dining steak house and a barbecue joint, according to owner-operators Wayne Halleran and Joon Yang. Halleran was a waiter at the Palm in Tysons Corner and Yang was assistant GM. The design will be more on the masculine side (no surprise to Palm vets) with everyone?s most popular design element (it seems) ? reclaimed barn wood. The plan is to open at 1330 S. Fair Street in early August. Chef & GM Update: David Lynch, a seasoned general manager from NYC and the DMV area joins **Ping Pong Dim Sum** in Chinatown as general manager. ..Randy Hill was named general manager for Ping Pong Dim Sum at Dupont Circle? Sonny Gorushanovich joins **901 Restaurant & Bar** as general manager. Previously, he was food and beverage director at **The Donovan House,** and before that, general manager Oya in Penn Quarter. He led teams and established food and beverage programs at prominent upscale restaurants in Miami, New York City, and San Antonio?Entertainment Cruises hired Scott Reynolds as executive chef for the ***National Elite,*** the new private charter yacht docked at National Harbor. It?s expected here in early summer. Chef Reynolds comes to Entertainment Cruises from the Marriott Annapolis Waterfront Hotel **Pusser?s Caribbean Grille**?Erik Guti?rrez has been named executive chef of **Indigo Landing** in Alexandria. Previously, he worked as sous chef at **Blue on Blue** at the Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., and the acclaimed **Morrison House** in Alexandria. Sue Drabkin is the new executive pastry chef at **RIS** in D.C.?s West End. She comes from **Harvest** in Cambridge, Mass., another leader in the farm to table movement. Mel Oursinsiri signed a lease to open another **Tom Yum District** at 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn by year?s end. The first one is in Dupont Circle. It?s a Chipotle-like concept, with a Thai twist, where guests choose from five proteins on either a salad, noodles or rice with a variety of sauces such as Penang curry. Mel is a seasoned restaurateur, as he also owns and operates **Bangkok Joe?s** and **T.H.A.I.** Shirlington. Mark White of Whisk Group, which is known for **Againn**, a gastropub, plans to open a new salad, sandwich, pastries, breads and coffee spot called **Bean & Bite,** at 1152 15th St., NW. He also plans to donate a percentage of every item sold to a charity to be named?Bean & Bite will have a retro, recycled look. It?s slated to open mid-summer. Boilermaker Shops is a development that was once the site for manufacturing Navy ship boilers. Expect some recognizable eateries like Thompson Hospitality?s **brb (be right burger)** and **Austin Grill Express,** as well as NRG?s **Buzz Bakery**. Out-of-towners like Louisiana transplant **Huey?s 24/7 Diner** and **Willie?s Brew & Cue,** from Xavier Cervera, the owner of Capitol Hill favorites, such as **Lola?s, Molly Malone?s** and the **Chesapeake Room**. The biggest addition may be **Bluejacket,** a craft brewery from the Neighborhood Restaurant Group (NRG) which also owns and operates **Evening Star Cafe, Birch & Barley/ChurchKey, Rustico, Tallula** and **Vermilion**. The restaurant will have 150 seats plus a large outdoor seating area. The brewery will provide beer not just on-site and to NRG?s eateries, but to other local restaurants. NRG beer director Greg Engert and Bluejacket head brewer Megan Parisi, previously with **Cambridge Brewing Co.** in Massachusetts, are collaborating on the beer. Birch & Barley chef Kyle Bailey will oversee the menu, though details have not yet been finalized. Bluejacket will open in 2013. In addition to Willie?s Brew & Cue, restaurateur Xavier Cervera plans to open **Park Tavern** at Canal Park. The public space, previously an empty lot, will have water fountains in the summer as well as sculptures. The restaurant aims to be among D.C.?s first LEED Gold-certified restaurants. Canal Park, named for the historic Washington Canal, will provide a water-borne connection between the Anacostia River and the Potomac River via the National Mall. It?s slated to open by late fall 2012. **Osteria Morini,** the first D.C. restaurant from esteemed NY chef/restaurateur Michael White, plans to open in the Lumber Shed development near Nationals Park along the riverfront. White was named ?Best Chef in New York? by the James Beard Foundation. Osteria Morini, a casual Italian concept, already has locations in Soho and Bernardsville, N.J. It will feature pastas, grilled meats and other northern Italian specialties. The restaurant pays homage to the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy known for prosciutto, Parmigiano and balsamic vinegar. It?s slated to open next summer. Quick Hits: **Sakuramen**, a ramen house, recently opened in an underground hideaway in Adams Morgan. It has a communal table for 20 for those who seek to avoid sunlight ? and you know who you are. **The Pinch** also recently opened in Columbia Heights, at 3548 14th Street, NW by owners Daniel Maceda, Carlos Eyster and Ashley Brudowsky. The chef is Stephanie Sharkey. Owner operators of **Cava Mezze** and **Cava Grill,** Ike Grigoropoulos and Ted Xenohristos, recently opened **Sugo Ciccetti** at 12505 Park Potomac Drive in Rockville. Allison Cooke of Core Group designed the space. The center of attention is a large pizza oven. There is also a charcuterie case with a slicer for mesmerizing guests...**Carving Station** and **FAI Pizza** will open at Mass Court building at 300 Massachusetts Ave., NW. **Tony & Joe?s** and **Nick?s Riverside Grill** are slated to (finally) open this month. Although the Hilton Brothers have decided not to open a restaurant at the **HR-57** jazz club space at 1610 14th St., NW, their almost-partner, Ari Gejdenson of **Acqua al 2,** has taken over the lease to open an Italian restaurant there. The Hilton Brothers have also sold their lease at 1337 H Street, NE. James McGillivray has signed a lease to open **Volcano Hot Stone Grill** in Gainesville. It?s interactive, as it features food cooked at the table on hot lava rocks. The only similarity to **The Melting Pot** is the cooking-at-the-table part. He signed a lease to open a 3,000-square-foot location at 14706 Lee Highway. The menu will concentrate on seafood, steaks and vegetables. It will seat 100, with room for more on the patio. He plans to open mid- to late- summer. From the owners of **Agoura** in Dupont Circle comes **Tel?veh Caf? and Wine Bar,** a more casual concept at 401 Massachusetts Ave. NW It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Like Agora, the restaurant will have a Mediterranean theme. The cafe will serve more than 300 wines by the bottle and more than 48 wines by the glass. Chef Ghassan Jarrouj will oversee both the new restaurant and Agora. *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*
Shophouse Southeast Asian Kitchen is slated to open in the Georgetown space formerly occupied by Furin's at 2805 M St., NW. It will be the second location (Dupont Circle was first) from Steve Ells, who also brought us **Chipotle.** Always secretive, this store will open sometime in 2012. It?s a two-fer. Mike Isabella plans to open **Kapnos,** a Greek restaurant and **G,** an Italian operation, both in a big space at 2201 14th Street, NW. Kapnos is Greek for ?smoke? (think whole spit-roasted animals) and G is, well, little sister to Graffiato. Both are slated to open sometime next year. Owners Au Dang and brother Di, along with Michael Jones, a former **J Paul?s** manager, plan to open **Chasin? Tails,** a silverware-optional crab shack open in Falls Church where **Bear Rock Caf?** used to be. Cajun seafood and traditional seafood will be offered, along with drinks and entertainment. The plan is to be open by beginning of April. **Nando?s Peri-Peri** loves the DC market and has targeted more locations: Pentagon Row to open in the beginning of June; King Street in Old Town, Alexandria and Waugh Chapel area of Anne Arundel County by end of 2012. They currently have locations in Penn Quarter, Gaithersburg, Bethesda Row, Silver Spring and National Harbor. **Eastern Market** is looking forward to a new restaurant from some familiar DC restaurant talent. Former **Komi** cook and pastry chef **Johnny Spero, Toki Underground** chef **Erik Bruner-Yang** and **Acqua al 2** chef **Ari Gejdenson** are the owners of **Suna.** Johnny takes the lead in the kitchen. Suna?s menu will be based on sustainability, supporting local farms, and what is available regionally and by season. Suna means ?moss? in Lativian, and Johnny Spero is of Latvian descent. The plan is to open by year?s end. Chef Update: At **Rasika West End, Vikram Sunderam** will be in charge of both restaurants, but chef de cuisine **Manish Tyagi** will oversee the day-to-day operations. Christopher Morris has been named Executive Chef at **BRIO Tuscan Grille** in Rockville, Maryland.? Previously, he worked as executive chef of **O?Donnell?s Sea Grill** and **Cin Cin Tratoria. Aaron McCloud** is the new chef at **Cedar** restaurant in Penn Quarter. Previously he was executive chef for Vintage Restaurant Group in Loudoun County, then chef at The Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michaels, Md. Patrick Forest and Raina Hull, former managers at **8407 Kitchen Bar** in Silver Spring have joined forces to open **Mealey?s Table** in New Market, Md. They hired Nate Waugaman, as chef. The restaurant will seat 80 with additional seating in the lounge. Previously, Nate had been at **Addie?s** in Rockville. Nate plans to produce his own charcuterie in-house with a farm-to-table strategy. His sous chef is Ian Benites, who worked with Nate at Addie?s. It is slated to open this month. In the meantime, Mallory Buford will run the kitchen at Addie?s, as he used to for Black Restaurant Group. A "philanthro-pub" called Cause, is planned for the Shaw neighborhood at 1926 9th St., NW in late April. Yes, it is a philanthropic-themed bar that plans to direct a percentage of profits towards charities. Cause is the brainchild of non-restaurateurs **Raj Ratwani** and **Nick Vilelle.** Their operators are **John Jarecki** and **Dave Pressley,** who run **The Light Horse** in Alexandria. They have restaurant ops chops, as between them they have helped to open 20 restaurants including Neighborhood Restaurant Group?s **Tallula, Rustico,** and **Vermillion.** Former **Queen Vic** chef **Adam Stein** heads the kitchen. The two-story space, which will also host non-profit events, will have a **worldly theme** with globes, maps, and photography from different countries. Renovations: **Shelly?s Back Room** at 1331 F Street, NW has added an additional 1000 square feet (and 50 seats) for an outdoor patio, appropriately called ?Shelly?s Front Porch,? offering the comfort of Adirondack chairs and a limited food menu. This will be referred to as fireplace room and bourbon room?. Alain Roussel has renovated his Chevy Chase French country restaurant, **La Ferme,** to the tune of $150,000. This includes new paneling, carpet, lamp shades, window dressings, upholstery wall hangings, and paint both in the main dining room and the private party room upstairs. **Morton?s The Steakhouse** in downtown DC is slated to undergo renovations, a part of their new ownership upgrade. **Volt** chef Bryan Voltaggio's forthcoming DC restaurant Range, is slated to open late fall in the **Chevy Chase Pavilion** showcasing lesser-used cuts of meat including shoulders, legs, and **offal.** The cocktails will feature house-made bitters, sodas, and mixers. As is all the rage these days, there will be an **open kitchen** as well as a bakery and retail shop. Quick Hits: **Rahama African Restaurant** recently opened in the Shaw neighborhood at 1923 9th St, NW. Ripple in Cleveland Park has a ?sister? next door, **Sugar Magnolia** offering savory and sweets including homemade ice cream sandwiches made by pastry chef **Alison Reed**, who joined Ripple in January after four years at **Cafe Saint Ex.** Chicago-based Matt Matros, owner of **Protein Bar,** has signed a lease to open a Protein Bar in Penn Quarter at Seventh & D Streets, NW. Working with Papadopoulos Properties, this promises to be the first of many in the area. **First Watch** plans to in Chantilly at Greenbriar Town Center. This will make their third (Rockville, Fairfax) in the region. They plan to open by end of 2012. Scott Harlan is chef/owner of Green Pig Bistro, slated to open in Clarendon, Va., by the time you read this. He was previously with **Inox.** **Nick?s Riverside Grille** and **Tony & Joe?s** at Georgetown?s Washington Harbour should be up and running ? inside and outside ? by May. That?s the time it takes to re-open after a flood and everything else that goes with it. Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant group named Brian McPherson as chef at both **Jackson 20** and **The Grille** at Morrison House in Alexandria. He takes the place of Dennis Marron, who was head chef at **Poste** restaurant at Hotel Monaco. McPherson was previously at **New Heights** and **Butterfield 9.** **True Food Kitchen,** a healthy, Mediterranean-themed restaurant, from Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Fox Restaurant Concepts?, is scouting locations in the D.C. region. It will be their first East Coast expansion, which has four locations in Arizona and California. True Food will appeal to D.C.?s sophisticated-leaning palate and generally healthy lifestyle. It?s backed by **P.F. Chang?s.** Thank Tom Papadopoulos for bringing this to you. Shirlington Village?s Curious Grape returns ? as more than a wine shop. Now it?s **The Curious Grape Wine, Dine & Shop.** Owner Suzanne McGrath says the food will focus on dishes that pair well with or feature wine. In addition to the restaurant, there is a cheese bar, traditional bar and private dining space.
**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.