The Wrap-Up: The Week in Food

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

• James Beard Award-winning chef R.J. Cooper is ending his six-year run as chef de cuisine at Vidalia. Cooper loves his pigs (currently playing on Vidalia’s menu: a “piglet variation,” a pork-belly Reuben, and a velouté with shoat-shoulder torte), and fittingly, he’s announced plans for a new restaurant to be called Pigtails. Washington Post critic Tom Sietsema broke the news on Twitter. Sietsema also reports that while the new place is in the works, Cooper is trying to find an “underground” location in which to hold his famed Table 24 dinners, named for the number of courses. Vidalia owner Jeff Buben has promoted Hamilton Johnson to chef de cuisine.

• Sietsema also writes on his weekly chat that 14th Street is getting two new restaurants: Italian Shirt Laundry, a bakery and pizza place, and Italian Cinema, which will offer pasta and charcuterie. Behind the ventures are Whisk Group, which owns Againn, and Abdo Development, creators of many a cool condo building.

• Chef Ed Witt is saying goodbye to the just-opened Georgetown restaurant Morso. The reason? The old “creative differences” line. Sounds like he has another gig lined up: One of his recent tweets reads, “will let everyone know where I’m going soon, want them to announce it.” The Morso owners aren’t so lucky. They’ve closed the restaurant until they find a new chef.

• It’s a good month to be a diner in Friendship Heights. On the heels of the debut of a bright, shiny Whole Foods comes word that Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza is set to open June 16. Washington City Paper’s Tim Carman says that the dining room will seat nearly 100 and will have an adjoining takeout space.

Birch & Barley/ChurchKey came out on top at Sunday night’s Rammy Awards, handed out by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington. The split-level beer spot took the prize for Best New Restaurant and Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene. Scott Drewno, who heads the kitchen at Wolfgang Puck’s the Source, took Chef of the Year honors. The Falls Church restaurant 2941 was named Best Fine-Dining Restaurant. For highlights of the night and the full list of winners, click here.


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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 Petworth.