The heat might be slowing down the rest of us, but Washington restaurateurs continue to open new businesses at a steady clip. With big-name places sneaking open over the July Fourth weekend, we’re guessing you need a recap as much as we do. Check out these 24 new spots, then get ready for a weekend of eating.
This new Glover Park Italian restaurant aims for serious food in a friendly neighborhood atmosphere. Head there for wood-fired pizzas, tagliatelle Bolognese, and roasted scallops with fregola sarda. Hot-day bonus: The staff serves up slushies flavored with house-made limoncello.
If you feel like the 14th Street dining scene has gotten too serious, stop by Aaron Gordon’s casual Italian cafe meant for all-day noshing. Bring friends (or your laptop) and post up over cappuccinos, or grab a piece of spinach quiche from the case for a light bite.
Spike and Micheline Mendelsohn continue their takeover of Pennsylvania Avenue with a straightforward steak-frites spot in the spirit of Montreal’s l’Entrecôte Saint-Jean. Get ready to loosen your belt: Béarnaise-sauced rib eyes, French onion soup, and unlimited fries await.
We love Fiola, but—for a good portion of the population, anyway—prices prohibit once-a-week dining there. Now Penn Quarter boasts a second, more casual option from chef Fabio Trabocchi. Think rustic house-made pastas, daily specials such as porchetta, and a whole list of wines under $30.
You’ll no longer find Alain Ducasse at the St. Regis—he wasn’t even there very much when he operated the shuttered Adour—but much about the hotel’s restaurant remains the same, including the elegant dining room, talented executive chef, and emphasis on wines. The big difference: lighter (and less expensive) Mediterranean-influenced fare.
Mike Isabella’s much-anticipated Greek spot is open and churning out whole roasted lambs, goats, pigs, and chickens. Go the whole hog—or other beast—at the extravagant chef’s table, or head to the bar for a few tapas-size plates and boozy lemonade on tap.
The Black Squirrel team transformed the former Toledo Lounge space into an absinthe den and spot to sip beer-based cocktails. Soak up the wormwood spirits with bowls of mussels and dishes like oyster po’ boys and crispy chicken bánh mì.
The newest addition to the Georgetown waterfront dining scene comes from the family behind Café Bonaparte and Napoleon Bistro & Lounge. Look for similar Francophile fare at dinner and the newly launched lunch service, such as lemon-tarragon tuna salad and tomato-mozzarella sandwiches.
While it’s certainly more bar than restaurant, you can snack your way through the evening at Derek Brown’s shrine to sherry and ham. Order a glass of fino or an on-tap gin and tonic, a plate of thinly sliced hams, and a parade of small plates like octopus and chorizo or pickled quail eggs with salmon roe.
Fancy Nepalese food? Head to Springfield’s latest, which threw its grand opening this week and is offering a 50-percent discount on the lunch buffet.
Celebrity chef Todd English may have his woes in Boston, but his downtown modern Mexican spot opened without a hitch. Snack from a mix of small plates such as ceviche and steak tacos, or go family-style with a whole roast fish.
A father-daughter team helms this 150-seat Italian eatery in Alexandria, where chef Carmine Marzano (formerly chef/owner of Luigiano’s) turns out brick oven pizzas and assaggini, Italian-style small plates.
Another food truck goes brick-and-mortar with the opening of Seoul Food’s shop in Wheaton. Look for the Korean dishes that made Seoul Food a favorite in Northern Virginia—including breakfast bowls, kimchee quesadillas, and bibim bap, plus plenty of vegetarian options.
On the heels of Del Campo, chef Victor Albisu debuts his Falls Church taqueria after running a pop-up over several weeks. The inexpensive menu includes classic tacos, modern versions stuffed with ancho meatballs, tortas, sopes, and more.
The Presidential Restaurant Group debuts its second POTUS-themed restaurant after Lincoln (maybe there’s a Polk’s Place or Millard Fillmore’s Fine Foods in our future?). The decor says Teddy (taxidermy, cushy chairs); the food says Dupont circa 2013 (small plates).
Tom Yum District
The owner of Bangkok Joe’s and T.H.A.I. get into the fast-casual game with a Chipotle-esque Thai eatery in Rosslyn. Choose a base like jasmine rice, mixed salad, or pad thai noodles, proteins such as lemongrass chicken or ginger tofu, and sauces that run from mild (orange vinaigrette) to spicy (“drunken” chili-garlic).
Triple B Fresh
Recently expanded chain restaurants
Meat in a Box (Plus Did Someone Say Pizza?)
The aptly named Falls Church kebab restaurant sets up an outpost in Adams Morgan, with the addition of pizza (this is Jumbo Slice land, after all).
Attman’s Deli (Potomac)
You won’t have to travel to Baltimore anymore for a taste of corned beef on rye from this old-school Jewish deli; the owners have opened a second branch in Potomac.
Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza (Silver Spring)
The fourth eatery for this local pizza chainlet lands brings garlicky clam pies and other New Haven-style treats to Silver Spring.
Taylor Gourmet (Farragut West)
Now that President Obama has approved the Philadelphia-style subshop, the Taylor guys continue their citywide expansion with a location near the White House.
Protein Bar (K Street)
Downtown dwellers can now get their fix of bar-ritos and vegan chili at from the Chicago-based health-minded chain.
Extreme Pizza (Pentagon City)
The national pizza operation brings its extreme style (porky Hanoi Fever pizzas! Extremely twisted breadsticks!) to Pentagon City.
Shake Shack (Penn Quarter)
A second shop from Danny Meyer’s burger kingdom lands near the Spy Museum with a number of exclusive concretes—and ShackBurgers, of course.
And coming Monday . . .
Maketto at Hanoi House
Erik Bruner-Yang heads to 14th Street with a “residency” (read: pop-up) in the Hanoi House space. The $30 family-style dinner menu is a preview of what you’ll get at Maketto once the retail-restaurant concept opens on H Street toward the end of the year. Reservations are being taken now, and are filling up quickly.