Cheesesteaks, Ramen, and Changes at Willow: The Week in Food News

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

By: Anna Spiegel

Come Tuesday, the bocce area at Pearl Dive Oyster Palace & Black Jack won't be so empty. Photographs by Kyle Gustafson

There was plenty of media chatter this week over ShopHouse, the Asian spinoff of Chipotle that opened in Dupont Circle yesterday. The company tried to keep the debut under wraps, but Eater DC did some sleuthing that involved grabbing not-meant-to-be-seen photos on the company Web site. But at its Thursday opening, all was revealed—we have plenty of photos of the space and food.

The Washington Post reports on new happenings with the Taylor Gourmet guys, and it's way more exciting than the news that the sandwich chainlet is adding mayo to its menu. Tim Carman recently followed co-owners Casey Patten and David Mazza back to their hometown of Philadelphia as they researched/binged on cheesesteaks to prepare for their upcoming H Street spot Taylor Charles Steak & Ice, which will specialize in the Philly sandwich. The first mission: have DC-based Lyon Bakery bread master Alan Hakimi replicate the "squishy, poorly developed commercial roll" that is essential to an authentic cheesesteak.  

Jeff and Barbara Black's new Logan Circle restaurant/bar, Pearl Dive Oyster Palace and Black Jack, was slated to start service this week, but it looks like Tuesday, September 20 will be the official opening date. Regardless you'll want to take a sneak peek inside with our photos and preview of the restaurant, upstairs bocce court/cocktail den, and Gulf Coast-inspired menu.

Thrillist discovers that a pop-up ramen shop called People's Noodle Bar is housed inside Senor Chicken in Columbia Heights. The tonkotsu broth (the porky style also found at Toki Underground) gets buckwheat noodles and toppings like crispy duck skin, egg, and mushrooms. You’ll also find sauteed noodles with such ingredients as pulled chicken, spinach, and woodear mushrooms. Check out the full menu here.

Changes are afoot this week at Ballston restaurant Willow, and ARLnow has the info. The space—which until now housed a white tablecloth dining room and casual bar area—will feature the dining room, a more extensive bistro section called Nosh, and a bakery counter, Kate at Willow, run by pastry chef Kate Jansen. See the menus for Nosh here and the bakery here.

We have the details on Spacebar, a new nightspot from Galaxy Hut owners Lary and Erica Hoffman. The space could include a rooftop with an organic garden and additional seating if permits go through, but definitely look for 24 beers on draft, a menu that includes vegan and vegetarian options alongside locally-sourced meats, and most importantly, 15 varieties of grilled cheese.

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