The Wrap-Up: The Week in Food

• On Monday, the Washington City Paper’s Tim Carman spilled that Citronelle chef/owner Michel Richard might open a restaurant in the former Maestro space in the Tysons Corner Ritz-Carlton. For a time, it looked like British chef Gordon Ramsay would move into the dining room, vacated in 2007 by Fabio Trabocchi. But Carman got ahold of documents that Michel Richard Restaurants sent to potential investors laying out plans of a “10-year primary lease.” Even though Mel Davis, Richard’s publicist, brushed off the rumors, Tom Sietsema wrote on’s Going out Gurus blog that the chef told him “maybe, maybe, maybe.”

Frank Hankins, owner of Atlas District coffee/wine bar Sova, announced that he’s strengthened his wine and cocktail lists with the help of restaurant veterans Derek Brown and Dan Searing. Brown, former sommelier at Citronelle and Komi and current lead mixologist at the Gibson, was instrumental in luring Jamie MacBain—well known in Portland, Oregon, for his inventive cocktails—to tend bar.
• To celebrate Earth Day on Wednesday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack broke ground on the People’s Garden, a six-acre plot on the Mall that belongs to the USDA. Plans for the garden, which will be all organic, include a 1,300-square-foot vegetable plot as well as flowers, herbs, and rain gardens. All produce will be donated to a local food bank, according to a press release from the USDA.

• Tomorrow night, Yannick Cam will serve his last plate of lobster with Sauternes butter at Le Paradou, his formal French restaurant in Penn Quarter. The place’s lofty prices couldn’t survive the economic downturn. When the closing was announced earlier this month, the Post’s Tom Sietsema reported that Cam isn’t staying out of the kitchen for long: He’s currently looking at spaces in McLean and the Palisades in Northwest DC.

• As soon as Barack Obama was elected President in November, foodies put his eating habits under a microscope. Now that he’s passed a milestone—100 days in office—those same people are taking his eating-out-temperature. This week, Marian Burros reports in Politico that while the President isn’t making the restaurant rounds, the rest of his family and his administration are. Burros singled out chief of staff Rahm Emanuel for being an avid restaurant-goer and pointed out Posto, the new Logan Circle Italian trattoria, as one of the places where the staff knows him by his first name. In fact, she said, the bustling, no-reservations spot seems to be “the administration hangout of the moment.”

• This morning, DCist reported that the Richmond-based organic grocer Ellwood Thompson’s won’t follow through on its planned store in Columbia Heights. Citing the downturn in the economy as the reason, spokesperson Cyndi Watkins said the company was looking forward to the new store, but its Richmond location is barely breaking even.

• Last night, the Gibson, the impossible-to-get-into speakeasy-like bar near DC’s U Street corridor, opened a 40-seat patio, reports’s Going out Gurus. The extra seats mean that a total of 88 people can drink there at any given time; the place’s strict rules mean there’s no standing. The crafty mixology team behind the operation also debuted a list of frozen drinks that are as creative as their original list of cocktails. The only rule outside? No parties larger than five. But unlike inside, there’s no two-hour time limit, so the five of you can sit there as long as you want.