Chef Bryan Voltaggio, late of Capitol Hill’s swanky Charlie Palmer Steak, has decamped to his hometown of Frederick to open a restaurant that bears part of his name. Volt (228 N. Market St.; 301-696-8658) is set in a brownstone mansion in the city’s historic district. Will Voltaggio’s fans venture to the exurbs for his farm-to-table cuisine?
Also striking out on his own, ex–Restaurant Eve pastry chef Niel Piferoen has opened Locolat (1781 Florida Ave., NW, Suite A; 202-518-2570). The space is sunny and inviting, and the Belgian-born chocolatier’s confections look like works of art.
The folks behind Capitol Hill’s Sonoma and Georgetown’s Mendocino Grille are counting on their new venture, Redwood (7121 Bethesda La., Bethesda; 301-656-5515), to create separation from the crowd of eating spots in Bethesda. Among the enticements: a chef with stints in some of San Francisco’s best restaurants, a fancy Winekeeper system, and a dish of bison bone marrow.
With its candelabras and polished wood floors, Nando’s Peri-Peri (819 Seventh St., NW; 202-898-1225), the Penn Quarter roost of the South African chicken chain, is the best-looking fast-food joint we’ve ever seen. And the flame-grilled birds? Succulent.
The boutiquing of burgers is well under way. Burger Joint (4827 Fairmont Ave., Bethesda; 301-358-6137) opened first, slinging lamb, pork, and lobster burgers. Then Michael Landrum, owner of Ray’s the Steaks in Arlington and Ray’s the Classics in Silver Spring, unveiled Ray’s Hell-Burger (1713 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-841-0001). Word has spread, and lines for the ten-ounce prime patties are out the door. Next, Top Chef alum Spike Mendelsohn debuted Good Stuff Eatery on Capitol Hill (303 Pennsylvania Ave., SE; 202-543-8222). Now there’s talk of four-star chef Michel Richard opening a burger place.
Two new frozen-yogurt spots on either side of Dupont Circle suggest the makings of a trend—or at the least testify to the success of Pinkberry. The starkly urbane TangySweet (2029 P St., NW; 202-822-2066) is to the west; the quirky, colorful Mr. Yogato (1515 17th St., NW; 202-629-3531) is to the east.
Finally, a trend that refuses to plateau: wine bars. Enology (3238 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-362-0362) has opened across the street from 2 Amys, and a not-yet-named wine-and-dessert bar from the general manager of Looking Glass Lounge is slated to open next month at 11th and Lamont streets in DC’s Columbia Heights.
This article appeared in the September, 2008 issue of The Washingtonian.