Town Hall Moves, Ben’s Chili Bowl Expands: The Week in Food News

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

Luke’s Lobster is hoping to offer New England beers to go with its lobster rolls. Photograph by Joshua Yospyn

Washington City Paper reports that Sonoma co-owners Eli Hengst and Jared Rager have signed over the lease and liquor license of the long-vacant space that used to house Blue Ridge to the popular Glover Park prepster hangout Town Hall.* Hengst says he’d hoped to “make [Blue Ridge] something cool,” but hiccups from the start—the loss of chef Barton Seaver, a change in concept—hurt its chances for a grand re-opening. The original Town Hall space will remain open for now, but look for the debut of the new place come November.

Washingtonian food and wine editor Todd Kliman tweeted the news that chef Robert Weland has left the kitchen at Poste. Over his seven year tenure Weland brought the Kimpton Hotel restaurant into the culinary spotlight with a local, sustainable approach (including a restaurant garden), frequent pig roasts, and an ambitious prix fixe menu. Kliman later spoke with Weland about his next move.

We’ve heard through the Prince of Petworth grapevine that New York-based Luke’s Lobster in Penn Quarter has applied for a liquor license. When we previewed the lobster roll joint in May, they were planning to bring New England beers, such as Shipyard and Allagash, onto the menu.

Washington Post sports blogger Dan Steinberg broke some culinary news, reporting that Ben’s Chili Bowl is half-smokes, chili dogs, fries, and nachos to FedEx Field this fall—a good thing, because Redskins fans need all the comfort food they can get. The two kiosks will be part of a larger expansion for the U Street restaurant. Look for two more locations—one in DC, one in Northern Virginia—in the coming months.

Google announced that they’re now offering their “beta” deals in DC along with four other cities. Like other restaurant deals sites, you can subscribe for free and get discounts for spots like Amsterdam Falafel and the cafe at West End Cinema. But the bigger news is that they also purchased international restaurant guide Zagat for $125 million. What will the results look like? Vanity Fair  speculates.

The Washington Business Journal has the scoop on an ambitious-sounding project underway near Dupont Circle called Puff Restaurant & Lounge (1831 M St., NW) . Though negotiations for the tri-level space (plus rooftop) are still in the works, the plan is for a spot that’s part Creole restaurant, part barber shop, part cigar bar, and part members-only club with services like access to rental cars and conference rooms. Throw a gym, cupcake shop, and a restaurant imported from New York in there and you’ll never have to go anywhere else in Dupont.

*Correction: This text has been edited from the original more accurately reflect the linked story. We apologize for the error.

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Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.