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From Steve Ells and the folks that brought you the amazingly successful QSR idol, Chipotle Mexican Grill, comes a new concept in the same QSR style. It’s called Shophouse Southeast Asian Kitchen (a mouthful in more ways than one) and will open its first store—a test market store—in Dupont Circle on Connecticut Ave., NW near the north Metro stop. The Asian-themed concept is slated to open this summer, but the Ells’ tweaking process is known to take time. No plans to expand beyond the first store yet. New York City’s Luke’s Lobster, the lobster shack-themed restaurant concept founded by Georgetown grad Luke Holden, is scouting Penn Quarter for its first store in DC. Holden gets his seafood bearings from his father Jeffrey, who owns Portland Shellfish and is one of the owners of Luke’s. Other owners include Luke’s brother, Bryan, who lives here in Washington, and Luke’s friends Scott Bullard and Ben Conniff. A summer opening is planned. Mid-Town Café opened on Wisconsin Avenue near Q St., next door to ILO Salon, and changed its name to Book Hill Café (for obvious reasons). The chef operator is Matthew Mohler, who has worked at Adour at the St Regis Hotel and J&G Steakhouse at the W Hotel. So American fare will highlight the menu. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are on the menu, as is an outdoor patio. Quick Hits: It appears that Orlando-based Seasons 52 loves this area enough to sign a deal to open a second location, this one in Tysons Corner Center. Their first in the region opens in across from White Flint Mall in Bethesda. Yet another summer opening is planned. Salt & Pepper, by Chefs Nathan & Lindsey Auchter, joined by Robert Golfman and Suechen Chen (formerly of Bambu) will open where Kemble Park Tavern used to be in DC’s Palisades. Another burger place opening this summer: Korean-based concept Kraze Burger is slated to open on Bethesda’s Elm Street. Expansion is expected to continue in North Bethesda, and Dulles and Georgetown will follow. They will also offer tofu and veggie burgers as well as salads. Speaking of BGR, the chain plans to open a Clarendon restaurant at the corner of N. Highland Street and Wilson Boulevard. That would be the sixth BGR in the area. They have another Arlington location on Lee Highway in Clarendon). Ivan Iricanin’s new taqueria, El Centro D.F., serves authentic Mexican food near his partners’ other restaurant, Masa 14. His partners are Kaz Okochi and Richard Sandoval. El Centro D.F. will occupy three floors in the 14th Street, NW building. Dinner and lounge on the lower level with the traditional taqueria on the first floor. Rooftop bar upstairs. Can’t wait for those warm summer evenings. Richmond-based Café Caturra, a coffee house and wine bar, also plans to open in Arlington on S Glebe Road this summer—coffee during the day, wine in the evening. An outdoor patio is also part of the plan for the summer opening. Café Caturra was founded by musician turned restaurateur Jeff Grant. Chef Update: Former Westend Bistro sous-chef Adam Barnett will be head chef at Eventide. He previously worked at another restaurant in the group, Liberty Tavern, as well as the Inn at Little Washington. Openings Update: Ping Pong Dim Sum’s Dupont Circle location plans to open in early August, for the time being. Pinkberry, which just opened on Connecticut Avenue near M Street, plans to open (in no particular order) in Leesburg, Clarendon, National Harbor and Georgetown. On The Calendar: Zoofari at the National Zoo – Thursday, May 19; Wine Enthusiast’s Toast of the Town at National Building Museum (still a few slots open) – Friday, May 20; RAMMY Awards at Marriot Wardman Park (Carnevale theme) – Sunday, June 26. 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 Linda@LindaRothPR.com or visit her web site at LindaRothPR.com.

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  -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 linda@lindarothpr.com or visit her web site at www.lindarothpr.com

Seasonal Menu Debuts at B. Smith’s

Union Station, the magnificent early 20th century train station that houses B. Smith’s Restaurant in Washington, DC, is one of the most majestic buildings in the city. Designed by distinguished American architect Daniel Burnham, it has been a national landmark since its completion in 1908. The splendid Beaux Arts statuary was created by no less a sculptor than Louis St. Gaudens, whose 50-plus figures in the station were considered his finest work. Adding to its stony provenance is its proximity to the US Senate and the charming Le Notre-inspired gardens. Sixteen years ago the stunning Barbara Smith, Vogue supermodel and African-American style setter, opened her very popular restaurant along the south side of the building. Housed in what was once known as the Presidential Suite, it is the same site where US Presidents and dignitaries once convened before their inaugurations. With its spectacular décor, lavish period chandeliers and Presidential seals still intact, it is in these turn-of-the-century rooms where B. Smith, as she is known, serves her delightful mix of Cajun Creole and Southern cuisine. Recently I visited the restaurant to try out her new fall menu. I found her signature style still in place with smartly suited and wine-savvy servers, low country cuisine and a genteel atmosphere. In the background a baby grand played softly as we sampled fried chicken livers with onion confit and pineapple chutney, crawfish and crab dip and pan-seared grouper over hoppin’ John rice with a citrus beurre blanc. The osso bucco with creamy asparagus risotto didn’t speak to the Southern style but was tender and lusciously sauced all the same. Several well-chosen and gently priced wines accompanied our dinner. We began with a 2008 Caymus Conundrum…a blend (I know, I know, but just get over it. I did!) of California whites, but soft and lovely with honeysuckle overtones, and followed up with a 2007 Sacred Hill Marlborough Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, in which I divined chocolate, plum and cinnamon tones. B. Smith’s still keeps their ever-popular Bourbon Street bread pudding on the menu, but it was the beignets that really charmed. Oh, to have a half a dozen of these warm, sweet treats for breakfast with a cup of French Market chicory coffee! For reservations visit www.bsmith.com [gallery ids="102495,120217,120223" nav="thumbs"]

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Bar à Vin at Chez Billy Sud Bar à Vin opens this week at 1035 31st St. NW, a long-vacant space adjacent to Chez Billy Sud. Along with the original Chez Billy in Petworth, it is part of the restaurants of dance-music producer Thievery Corporation’s Eric Hilton and his younger brother Ian. The new space will feature a large and mostly French wine list and be open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. The Resurrection of Bangkok Joe’s Bangkok Joe’s, a Thai favorite on the waterfront for 10 years, said that it will return in March to its old location at 3000 K St. NW, where the short-lived Mama Rouge restaurant used to be. Both restaurants are owned by chef Aulie Bunyarataphan and proprietor Mel Oursinsiri, and while Mama Rouge offered an Asian/French fusion menu, Bangkok Joe’s will return to a more traditional Thai menu. Old favorites like the dumpling bar will still be on the menu, complemented by new creations. Zannchi, Real Korean Fast Casual Eunjung Kim, a business student at Georgetown University, will open Zannchi, a casual Korean eatery, at 1529 Wisconsin Ave. NW by the end of this month. The name of the restaurant means “feast” in Korean. Zannchi will specialize in bibimbap — rice bowls — and kimbap — sushi rolls that contain no raw fish. Kim will graduate from Georgetown's MBA program this spring. Pineapple and Pearls: $250, Starting April 7 The chef and owner of acclaimed Rose's Luxury restaurant at Barracks Row will open a companion place, called Pineapple and Pearls, April 7. Chef Aaron Silverman has set a single-price and special menu — it will cost $250 per person, no surprises, no gratuities, no add-ons. Next week, diners can PineappleandPearls.com to start the reservation scrabble. Silverman, the Washington Post reported, “wants his fine-dining spot to be a ‘celebratory place.’ At $250 per person, Pineapple and Pearls will certainly charge like a restaurant designed for special occasions. Silverman's menu will instantly become one of the most expensive on the planet.”

The Latest DishNovember 30, 2011

**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.

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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 linda@lindarothpr.com or visit her web site at www.lindarothpr.com

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Will Strozier and Rob Zahn, the Proper Social guys who brought us Proper 21, opened Proper 21K at 21st and K Streets NW in...

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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.

Strawberries and Asparagus: A Delicious Opportunity for Health

The Farmers Markets are almost in full swing. The Rose Park Market began on Wednesday, May 9 (every Wednesday, 3 – 7 p.m. through November), with the two most popular items in season: asparagus and strawberries. And of course, The Dupont Circle Fresh Farm Market is now open on Sundays, 8:30a.m. – 1p.m. This is the time of year to revel in the peak ripeness, flavor and nutrition of these springtime delicacies. The recipe for curried chicken salad with strawberries comes from my mother and makes a very nice lunch offering. Like any curry dish, its perfect companions are a spicy or sweet chutney (try CHOP Market’s Nature Isle Chutney) and a cool yogurt. You could also top it on a baguette or stuff it into a tomato or avocado half. Serve with pickles, carrot and celery sticks or radishes. You can use any seasonal fruits such as peaches, grapes, oranges, or anything ripe and in season. Have fun with it. The beauty of spring is the wide array of options, and it’s hard to go wrong. Strawberries are actually members of the Rose family, and there are over 600 different varieties. Choose freshly picked, ripe berries, as they will be the tastiest and will have the most nutrients. “Look for berries fully formed, bright red, without bruising or soft spots and with fresh-looking green caps,” says janie Hibler in her book, The Berry Bible. She continues with a word of caution: “Beware of buying out-of-season strawberries, as sometimes they are picked when they are only 40% ripe. These berries may turn red, but they will never develop sweetness and can be hard as an apple.” Strawberries are considered a “superfood.” They have one of the highest antioxidant and nutrient contents of all foods, they are also low in calories—you can eat them in unlimited quantities. In fact, for your health, the more the better! “A serving of eight strawberries contains more vitamin C than an orange,” says David Grotto in 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life. “Strawberries are also rich in folate, potassium, and fiber. They’re especially high in cancer- and heart-disease-fighting phytonutrients (beneficial plant compounds) called flavonoids, anthocyanins, ellagic acid, quercetin, catechin, and kaempferol.” Asparagus, meanwhile, is packed with nutrients. Low in calories, it’s an excellent source of folic acid and Vitamin C, Thiamin, and Vitamin B6. Asparagus, like other fruits and vegetables, is sodium-free, and contains no fat or cholesterol. It is an important source of potassium and many nutrients, important for boosting your immune system and preventing heart disease, lowering blood pressure and even preventing cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, Asparagus is the highest tested food containing Glutathione, one of the body's most potent cancer fighters. Additionally, Asparagus is high in Rutin, which is valuable in strengthening the blood vessels.?This recipe for chilled asparagus spears in a creamy vinaigrette is a bright, balanced dish that I think brings out the best in asparagus. Kjerstin’s Curried Chicken Salad with Strawberries and Roasted Almonds Serves 4 2 cups chicken breast meat, cooked, chopped (about 2 half breasts) 1 pint low sodium, nonfat chicken stock 1/3 cup small mild onion, chopped 1-1/2 cup celery, chopped 1 cup seedless grapes, halved (or other available fruit) ¾ pound strawberries, hulled and quartered 3 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped 3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley 1 tsp curry powder, or to taste 1 oz almonds or walnuts, toasted and chopped 1/4 cup low fat ranch-style or cucumber dressing Poach the chicken breasts in stock until cooked. Let cool, then chop in bite-size pieces. Add the rest of the ingredients and chill. Serve chilled. Per serving: 230 calories, 8 grams fat, 1 grams sat fat, 19 g carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 20 grams protein Chilled Asparagus in a Creamy Tarragon, Shallot, and Roasted Walnut Vinaigrette Serves 6 to 8 2 lb asparagus, cleaned, tough ends removed, cut in 1.5 inch pieces 1 Tbsp walnut or canola oil Salt and pepper to taste 1/2 cup roasted, unsalted walnuts, chopped 1 small (4 oz) red bell pepper, finely chopped (roasting optional) 1 bunch (1/4 cup) green onions, finely chopped Vinaigrette: 2 Tbsp tarragon vinegar 4 Tbsp walnut oil 2 Tbsp low fat Greek yogurt 1 shallot, finely chopped 2 Tbsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped 1 Tbsp fresh parsely, finely chopped 1 Tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped Salt and pepper to taste If you are using raw walnuts, toast the walnuts: place in a single layer on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes until light golden brown. Let cool, then chop. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare the vinaigrette by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl large enough to fit the asparagus, red pepper and green onions. Place the bowl with the vinaigrette in the refrigerator so that it is cool when the asparagus comes out of the oven. If you wish, peel the stalks of the asparagus for a more tender vegetable. Slice the asparagus stalks diagonally into bite-sized or approximately 1.5 inch pieces. In a large bowl or plastic bag, toss the pieces in the walnut or canola oil and a light sprinkling of salt and pepper, until the asparagus is coated lightly with oil. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer and cook for 5 minutes in the middle of the oven. Pour the hot asparagus into the cool vinaigrette to help discontinue the cooking of the asparagus, so that it remains al dente. Do not overcook! Add the red bell pepper, green onions, and nuts. Toss and serve immediately while still warm, or serve chilled. About 1,000 calories for the entire dish.

The Latest Dish

Chuy’s plans to expand further into Northern Virginia when they open in Woodbridge in October and Sterling in the end of the Q2 2016. Clarendon and Reston are also targeted. They are also looking at sites in Maryland – Rockville and Columbia. Openings Update: British Columbia-based Earls Kitchen + Bar is expecting a late 3Q opening at their Tysons Corner location in the new Macerich project, TysonsOne. Please, no “apostrophe,” as it’s named for Earl Sr. and Earl Jr. (two Earls). Tadich Grill now expects to also open in late 3Q at 10th & Pennsylvania Ave. NW in D.C. Succotash is planning to start serving its unique brand of southern hospitality and food from Chef Edward Lee, in National Harbor, Maryland in August. Southern food with a twist gains in popularity here, as Magnolia’s on King is expected to open this month at 703 King Street in Old Town, Alexandria, brought to you by Steve Fogleman and Mehrnoosh Rajabi. It seats 60 on the first floor dining room with a 30-seat second floor bar and lounge. Annapolis native Brian Rowe is the executive chef. He previously worked at Wolfgang Puck’s Grand Café in Orlando as well as Spago in Beverly Hills. He also did an internship with Chef Jacques Ganeu in Lyon, France. Hans Fogleman will be the pastry chef. Craft mixologist Zachary Faden will be in charge of the bar program, while Olivia Mills will act as service and beverage director. Lupo Verde will have a sister operation in D.C.’s Palisades neighborhood at 4814 MacArthur Blvd. NW. Same owners as the one on 14th Street: Lahlou and Antonio Matarazzo. Actually, Lahlou owns the building and lives in the Palisades. He also owns Tunnicliff’s, Ulah Bistro and Station 4. Not only will it offer Lupo Verde’s signature homemade pastas, it will have an expanded menu of entrees. Their menu is by chef Domenico Apollar. It will seat 100 on two levels, with a lower level that houses a small gourmet market which will carry Lupo Verde’s homemade pastas and sauces. There is also a chef’s table on the lower level. An October opening is planned. Just Opened: Annapolis-based Blackwall Hitch, a modern interpretation of a classic shore tavern, recently opened in Old Town, Alexandria on the waterfront adjacent to The Torpedo Factory, on Cameron Street. The two-level restaurant opens this month with 315 seats inside and 105 more on the patios. &pizza opened a 44-seat restaurant with an outdoor patio at Pike & Rose in Rockville. The chain also launched its &wine program at its six D.C. locations. Kona Grill just opened in Rosslyn at 1776 Wilson Blvd across from where 100 Montaditos used to be. Daring restaurant, bar and club pioneer (into under-developed neighborhoods) Joe Englert is planning to go yet again where no established restaurateur has gone before – Ivy City. He plans to open a coffee shop, beer garden, music venue and bouldering gym at 1240 Mount Olivet Rd. NE, not far from the Hecht’s warehouse. He partner is real estate investor Langdon Hample. The 3,500-square-foot coffee shop will be run by Qualia Coffee Roasters, the Petworth coffee shop. The beer garden and bar portion of the project is still on the drawing board, whether they go big or go smaller and local. Regardless, all that rock climbing (or bouldering) will result in big thirst for beer. Paul Carlson of Vinoteca & family will be working to open The Royal in 3Q 2015. Named for the Florida Avenue corner liquor store that had occupied the space previously, The Royal will serve Latin-American food, which reflects the family’s Colombian heritage. The plan is to serve food all day long. The comfort food menu will be crafted by Chef Lonnie Zoeller. Expect exotic cocktails made with exotic fruit. Quick Hits: Stanford Grill plans to open in the Tower Oaks area of Montgomery County in the 3Q 2015. Pinstripes is targeting Tysons Corner for a 4Q 2017 opening, as well as the second phase of Pike & Rose in Rockville. Linda Roth is president of Linda Roth Associates, a public relations & marketing firm that specializes in the hospitality industry, providing creative connections through media relations, marketing initiatives, community outreach and special events. Reach her at: Linda@LindaRothPR.com or www.lindarothpr.com or #LindaRothPR.