The Wrap-Up: The Week in Food

Every week we fill you in on what’s been going on in the food and restaurant world.

By: Kate Nerenberg

The Argonaut, a tavern on H Street, Northeast, suffered a devastating fire Sunday morning. The restaurant’s blog has pictures of the damage; the kitchen got hit hardest, while the dining room had hardly a scratch. The staff hopes to reopen by August, in time for its fifth anniversary. The Rock & Roll Hotel is holding a fundraiser Wednesday, June 30, from 5 to 11. Admission is $20, and all proceeds benefit the Argonaut. More details here.

Clyde’s Restaurant Group is planning its 14th venture, according to a Monday Washington Post article. The site is a former Borders bookstore on 14th Street, Northwest—across the street from the Willard Hotel—and it measures 35,000 square feet over two floors. Clyde’s vice president Tom Meyer says the group is planning to offer sushi, a raw bar, and live music. Meyer and his partners hope the new restaurant, tentatively called Hamilton Square, will open in late 2011.

Serious Eats talked burgers with Spike Mendelsohn, chef/owner of Good Stuff Eatery, about his newest project, The Good Stuff Cookbook: Burgers, Fries, Shakes, Wedges, and More. The interview dissects Spike’s burger preferences, from his cheese choice (yellow American!) to condiments.

Michel Richard has picked a chef to lead his newest kitchen, Michel in Tysons Corner, slated to open in September. Levi Mezick, most recently of the Jockey Club at the Fairfax at Embassy Row hotel, will execute Richard’s modern-French bistro menu. Mezick’s résumé lists esteemed New York restaurants, including Per Se, Daniel, and Café Boulud. When we checked in on him at the Jockey Club this winter, we mostly liked what we saw.

President Obama paid a second visit to Ray’s Hell-Burger yesterday, this time with Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, who reported the lunch on Twitter, complete with a photo. They both had cheddar cheeseburgers and shared an order of fries. NBC Washington has a video of the two talking via translators. The craziest part of the whole thing? Nope, not that the news made page A1 of the New York Times this morning but that the motorcade got from the White House to Ray’s in six minutes.

Sunday, David Varley was crowned King of Porc at the Aspen Food & Wine festival. After landing first in the local edition of Cochon 555, the Bourbon Steak chef de cuisine won the chance to compete against other regional winners. The impressive group of competitors included a chef from the French Laundry in California and a recent James Beard Award winner from South Carolina. On its Facebook page, the Cochon 555 event organizers wrote “Congrats to David Varley from Bourbon Steak DC - 2010 ‘King of Porc’. Takes home the crown amongst 10 of the best chefs in the country known for utlizing whole heritage pigs in their kitchens. This is a HUGE win for chefs and farms across the country preserving heritage breed pigs through passionate consumption.”

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