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.

Food & Wine magazine is adding a new dimension to its annual Best New Chefs awards: reader participation. The editors broke the country down into ten regions and nominated ten chefs per area. Now it’s your chance to vote for your pick. In the Mid-Atlantic category, Washington has four chefs in the fight: Nicholas Stefanelli (Bibiana, also a semifinalist for a James Beard Award), David Guas (Bayou Bakery), Daniel Giusti (1789), and Kyle Bailey (Birch & Barley).

• Food, Wine & Co. in Bethesda has had a rocky run since it opened in September. Owner Francis Namin has already blown through two chefs, including former Buck’s Fishing & Camping toque Carole Greenwood, who was at the helm for a whopping two days in February. Carole Sugarman wrote on the Bethesda Magazine blog that there’s a new chef at the stoves: Michael Harr, most recently the executive chef at Old Hickory Steakhouse and Moon Bay Coastal Cuisine in National Harbor. Before that, he did great things at the now-closed Butterfield 9. Harr is taking his time changing the menu; initial tweaks include a new honey-chipotle glaze for roast chicken and an overhaul of the steamed-mussels recipe.

CommonWealth, a British gastropub in DC’s Columbia Heights that’s owned by Jamie Leeds of Hank’s Oyster Bar, is closing. Missy Frederick of the Washington Business Journal says that commercial-real-estate mogul Terry Cullen—who’s behind a new bar in Columbia Heights—is taking over the space, and he’s keeping a pub theme but will expand the bar area and change the name.

• On his weekly chat, the Washington Post’s Tom Sietsema broke the news that Bryan Moscatello is leaving his post as executive chef of the Stir Food Group, which includes Zola, Potenza, Zola Wine & Kitchen, and Spy City Cafe. His replacement is Eric Fleischer, who was Moscatello’s number two in the kitchen. He also added details to the CommonWealth sale, saying Leeds will focus on Hank’s in Washington, where she’s planning to expand into the adjacent space.

• Sietsema also tells us that come March 28, Bethesda will be home to Pizzeria da Marco (8008 Woodmont Ave.). The wood-burning oven and the pizzaiolo, Dino Santonicola, come from the same place: Naples, a city that lays claim to inventing pizza. Santonicola, 35, is a 22-year veteran of pizza-making, first in Naples and most recently in Seattle at Via Tribunali. General manager Alessandro Ferro was last at Assaggi Osteria in McLean.

• According to a press release we received Wednesday, Wes Morton—one of the up-and-coming chefs we profiled in our October issue—is leaving his post as the top toque at Againn to head the Art and Soul kitchen. As of March 1, the Louisiana native will work with Art and Soul’s executive chef, Chicago-based Art Smith, on the Southern-inspired menu.

• Metrocurean had a couple of news items this week. Chefs Richard Sandoval (Zengo, La Sandia) and Kaz Okochi (Kaz Sushi Bistro)—the team behind Logan Circle’s Masa 14have decided on a name for their forthcoming taqueria: El Centro D.F. The taqueria, which is a few storefronts north of Masa 14, will have takeout tacos as well as a sit-down restaurant and a bar/lounge.

• Also from Metrocurean comes the announcement of Bistrot Le Zinc at 2714 Macomb Street, Northwest, across from 2 Amys pizzeria. Two Brasserie Beck alums, executive chef David Ashwell and manager John Warner, are the owners. They’ll serve French-bistro dishes such as bouillabaisse, choucroute, and cassoulet as well as plates with a local-ingredient bent. The design team Adamstein & Demetriou—responsible for the interiors of Hank’s Oyster Bar, Marvin, and Cork, among others—will outfit the former Sushi Sushi space with red banquettes and brass railings. Look for it to open in mid-April.

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