• Michael Landrum, proprietor of the Ray’s empire, announced via the Washington Post’s Tom Sietsema that he’ll open Ray’s the Glass, A Personal Wine Bar with Mark Slater in about a month. Slater, a former Citronelle sommelier, will oversee the 60-seater that will share space with Ray’s the Steaks. Landrum also says he’ll move the ever-popular Ray’s Hell-Burger again, this time to an even bigger Arlington space (1650 Wilson Blvd.) in the spring. The added square footage means Landrum can serve classic burger accompaniments such as milkshakes and fries. Ray’s the Catch, Landrum’s fish-focused restaurant will occupy the current Hell-Burger space, and Ray’s the Game—devoted to burgers made from ostrich, duck, and other game—will go in the original Hell-Burger space. Finally, Ray’s the Steaks at East River in Northeast DC, should also debut next month, with a similar menu to the original Ray’s the Steaks. Phew. Got that?
• Rockville will soon get a branch of the always-crowded pizza/sliders bistro Matchbox, which currently has outposts in DC’s Chinatown and on Capitol Hill. Co-owner Ty Neal tells Missy Frederick of the Washington Business Journal that he’s shooting for a late-2010 opening.
• In its December issue, Travel & Leisure includes the Liberty Tavern’s wood-fired pizzas on its list of America’s 13 best pies. The basic Classico pizza—with San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil—gets the thumbs-up.
• Will DC finally get a good barbecue-pork bun? That remains to be seen, but Ping Pong Dim Sum, a British chain, is unveiling its version tonight in DC’s Penn Quarter. The menu revolves around pan-Asian dishes and dumplings, many with unconventional stuffings such as Sichuan rabbit; chicken, pineapple, and lemongrass; and spinach and prawns.
• In a piece that sparked a lot of talk this week, the Washington Post’s Jane Black exposed the realities behind Founding Farmers’ claims about its eco-friendly practices. She calls the popular downtown DC restaurant out on serving farmed salmon and out-of-season ingredients. Dan Simons, head of the management company behind Founding Farmers, wrote a lengthy response on the restaurant’s blog, challenging a number of Black’s statements and emphasizing the importance of his mission to strive—“strive is a critical word; we don’t promise 100% of anything”—for the most environmentally friendly restaurant possible.
• In Wednesday's Top Chef finale, the Voltaggio brothers, Frederick natives—Bryan owns Volt in his hometown, Michael works in California—were the last two contestants standing. Michael, the younger of the pair, came out on top, but the guys unveiled a joint Web site and hinted in a Washington Post chat that they have some plans in the works.
• Cleveland Park's Enology is bagging its wine-bar concept and turning the space into Alliance Tavern, which will have lots of beer, TVs, and meat from Jamie Stachowski—one of the few holdovers from the previous restaurant's menu. Redecorating and other changes have been happening gradually, so that the place won't have to close for an extended period of time.
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