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The Wrap-Up: The Week in Food

Every Friday, we fill you in on what’s been happening in the local restaurant world.

• In early September, the Mandarin Oriental hotel will debut Sou’Wester, a casual, Southern-themed restaurant that’s replacing the mod-Asian Cafe MoZu. Metrocurean got some details on the menu, which includes feel-good food such as fried chicken, creamed grits, and hush puppies. Sounds very different from CityZen, the refined restaurant in the same hotel led by Eric Ziebold. His chef de cuisine, Rachael Harriman, will oversee the Sou’Wester kitchen.

• The Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood commission has this on its August agenda: “Proposal from FreshFarm Market to establish a farmers market on the 800 block of 16th St., NW,” reports Jane Black of the Washington Post. That’s an organic apple’s throw from the White House. FreshFarm cofounder Ann Yonkers told Black that there’s “potential” for a farmers market in that area, but “it’s premature to talk about it.”

• The Washington City Paper’s Tim Carman writes that Michael Babin, co-owner of the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, has hired a chef to head up Birch & Barley/ChurchKey. Kyle Bailey, 28, will take over the soon-to-open beer-centric restaurant/bar near DC’s Logan Circle after Frank Morales unexpectedly left Babin’s group last month. Bailey comes with an impressive background, which includes the wine-heavy Cru in New York and Blue Hill at Stone Barns—the leader in the farm-to-table movement. Most recently, he was head chef at Allen & Delancey, where New York food bloggers went gaga over dishes such as Arctic char with spinach purée, baby leeks, and fingerling potatoes and beet risotto with whipped goat cheese. 

• On Wednesday, Mark Bucher, founder of BGR: The Burger Joint, opened his second location in Old Town (the original is in Bethesda). He also has plans to open one in Dupont Circle in the coming months.

• And in more burger news, the Washington Business Journal reports that meat king Michael Landrum will open a second Ray’s Hell-Burger, this one in DC’s Adams Morgan. His ten-ounce patties, which were already the stuff of local legend, gained national fame when President Obama and Vice President Biden lunched at the Arlington joint in May. Washington City Paper’s Tim Carman says it isn’t so—at this point. Landrum isn’t ruling it out, but it’s by no means a done deal. We don’t even want to think about the lines that would form come 2 AM at the new place. Jumbo Slice, you would have some serious competition.

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