Elisir (11th St. and Pennsylvania Ave., NW).Chef Enzo Fargione, a Roberto Donna disciple who briefly wowed diners at Teatro Goldoni, hopes to open his Penn Quarter restaurant by March. He’s planning to offer some Teatro hits, such as smoked branzino carpaccio.
Georgia Avenue Meeting House (3730 Georgia Ave., NW). Gillian Clark, chef/owner of the General Store in Silver Spring, is channeling Edna Lewis—the Julia Child of Southern cooking—for this restaurant above the Petworth Metro, set to open in early 2011. Her Sunday-afternoon “roasts” will have a coat-and-tie dress code for gents.
Hill Country (410 Seventh St., NW). This Manhattan import, owned by a Bethesda native and slated for early winter, uses Texas’s famous Kreuz Market as its culinary model. Translation: dry-rubbed, oak-smoked meat, no sauce, served on butcher paper.
Italian Shirt Laundry (1601 14th St., NW) and Italian Cinema (1404 14th St., NW). Within the next six months, the Whisk Group, which owns Againn in downtown DC and Rockville, wants to open both Italian Shirt Laundry—with small plates and $10-to-$12 pies, a bakery, and 50 beers on tap—and Italian Cinema, a more upscale pasta-and-meat-focused restaurant with a roof terrace.
Rogue 24 (927 N St., NW). James Beard Award–winning chef R.J. Cooper will boldly offer only a 24-course, $140 tasting menu—the result of an experiment in the last months of his six-year stint at Vidalia—with cocktail pairings ($30 extra) from a tableside cart.
Shake Shack (1216 18th St., NW). Next year, one burger chain (Fuddruckers) becomes another: the eighth edition of New York restaurateur Danny Meyer’s most casual concept—famed for thin, diner-style burgers, frozen-custard shakes, and hot dogs with Chicago and Wisconsin roots.
>> Next: Upcoming restaurants in Virginia and Maryland
Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery (1515 N. Courthouse Rd., Arlington). Pastry chef David Guas is drawing on his New Orleans roots for this all-day cafe with house-made biscuits in the morning and, for lunch and dinner, sandwiches such as the “baconader” with apple sauce, peanut butter, and Benton’s bacon. Dessert brings sno-balls (shaved ice with condensed milk) and caramel corn with cayenne and bacon.
Michel by Michel Richard (Ritz-Carlton, 1700 Tysons Blvd., McLean). This month, after a $2.2-million facelift, the former Maestro space opens as Michel Richard’s bridge between Central, his hip Penn Quarter bistro, and Citronelle, his fine-dining temple in Georgetown. Chef Levi Mezick, whose résumé includes Per Se and Daniel in New York, will execute the menu.
Ozzie’s Corner Italian (11880 Grand Commons Ave., Fairfax). As with its other properties (Carlyle and Sweetwater Tavern, among others), the Great American Restaurants Group is relying on nostalgic feel-good food for this circa-1950s throwback to New York’s Little Italy, set to open this month.
Virtue Feed & Grain (106 S. Union St., Alexandria). Come spring, a two-level feedhouse from the 1800s will have the Cathal and Meshelle Armstrong (Restaurant Eve, the Majestic, Eamonn’s) treatment: an Irish-style pub with a casual feel—there’ll be a walkup window for fried chicken—and detailed but familiar food. Dishes in the works include pigs in blankets, steak-and-kidney pie, and smoked-haddock soup.
Cava (4832 Bethesda Ave., Bethesda). With sit-down locations on Capitol Hill and in Rockville, this is the first of a number of fast-casual outposts for the restaurant group (the owners are also looking at DC’s Chinatown and Dupont Circle). Think Chipotle gone Greek: Start with a rice bowl, salad bowl, or a pita; choose a filler (chicken, pork, beef, lamb, house-made falafel); and add dips, spreads, and other condiments. The space, slated to open November 1, has room for 32 diners.
Redeye Grill (National Harbor, Oxon Hill). New York restaurateur Sheldon Fireman, who specializes in oversize restaurants with big energy—such as Bond 45, his Italian steakhouse also in National Harbor—should start serving Cobb salads and smoked-fish platters at Redeye by the end of next year.
This article first appeared in the October 2010 issue of The Washingtonian.