The Wrap-Up: The Week in Food

• Could it really be happening? The beer-focused restaurant Birch & Barley and upstairs bar Churchkey, slated to debut, oh, more than a year ago on 14th Street, Northwest, seems to have a new opening date. Washington City Paper’s Tim Carman reports that although the place doesn’t have a chef at this point (Frank Morales, who recently departed the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, was supposed to take it on), the plan is to open in September. Fingers crossed, but we’ll see.

Meanwhile, Morales’s old job at Rustico has been snagged by Steve Mannino, late of Olives here and in Vegas and Continental and Buddakan in Atlantic City. Mannino tells the Washington Post’s Tom Sietsema that the pizza hangout will offer chicken wings—and also foie gras.

• A couple of presidential sightings this week: On Saturday, Bill Clinton dropped into Tenleytown’s Z Burger for a cheeseless double burger, onion rings, fries, and an apple-pie milkshake. “He was the nicest person I ever met in my life,” says owner Peter Tabibian. “He also looked like he was in shape.” Sounds like a real easy meal to jog off.
And last night, Michelle Obama; her mother, Marian Robinson; and daughters Malia and Sasha dropped into the Majestic in Old Town. Cathal and Meshelle Armstrong’s upscale comfort-food spot counts Senator Mark Warner as a partner.

• Coffee proselytizer Nick Cho—known equally for his late, great Murky Coffee and his knack for inviting controversy—is back. He’s managing Chinatown Coffee Company, which began pouring cups of Intelligensia on Monday. Check out pictures and keep up with the place on Facebook. 

• Penn Quarter Living caught a job ad on Craigslist that claims New York red-sauce joint Carmine’s is coming to Penn Quarter next spring. No word yet on whether it’s true, but Washington has certainly seen a rise in pasta places lately.

More>> Best Bites Blog | Food & Dining | Restaurant Finder

Follow the Best Bites Bloggers on Twitter at

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.