Our Most Popular Food and Drink Stories of 2018

Taylor Gourmet, Initiative 77, Mike Isabella

Around 90,000 blossoms canopy the Cherry Blossom Pop-Up Bar. Photography by Farrah Skeiky.

This year was marked by restaurant empire implosions, a divisive ballot initiative, Michelin mania, and more elaborate pop-up bars. Beyond our 100 Very Best Restaurants ranking and Cheap Eats guide, here’s a look at Washingtonian’s most-read food and drink stories of 2018.

10. La Vie Owner Responds to Washington Post Food Critic’s Scathing Zero-Star Review

Critic Tom Sietsema called the swanky Wharf restaurant “so bad I’m only writing about it as a warning.” Owner Mike Bramson responded: “We’re not going to change our whole approach just because one review.”

9. It’s Michelle Obama’s Birthday. Here Are All the DC Restaurants Where She’s Celebrated.

The former First Lady is known for great taste in restaurants. This year, she celebrated at A Rake’s Progress—before it even officially opened.

8. The Inside Story of Mike Isabella’s Fallen Empire

How alcohol, infighting, and a sexual harassment scandal turned the prince of DC dining into a pariah.

7. Everything You Need to Know About Initiative 77 and the Tipped Minimum Wage

The DC ballot initiative would have meant big changes for the way restaurants operated. But after voters passed it in June, the DC Council overturned it.

6. DC’s Cherry Blossom Pop-Up Bar Is Back With More Flowers and a 10-Foot Godzilla Robot

The hottest place to drink in the spring? This blossom-filled Shaw bar with an animatronic Godzilla spewing smoke.

5. A Rick and Morty-Themed Pop-Up Bar Is Coming to DC

The excitement didn’t last long. The Drink Company pop-up was shut down after threats from Turner Broadcasting about its intellectual property.

4. Michelin Reveals Its 2019 Bib Gourmand List for DC

Maydan, Timber Pizza, and Kaliwa were among the 19 new restaurants added to Michelin’s guide to the best moderately priced restaurants.

3. Here Are the 2019 Michelin Star Restaurants for DC

The Inn at Little Washington became the first area restaurant to earn the highest rating of three stars.

2. DC Restaurants to White Supremacists: Yes, We Will Kick You Out

Ahead of the Unite the Right rally in August, restaurant owners made it clear they don’t welcome hate.

1. Taylor Gourmet Will Close All of Its Stores. Insiders Blame Trump.

The hoagie chain surprised nearly everyone by shutting down suddenly in September. The company’s official line was that its rapid expansion was too much, but was the owner’s meeting with President Trump also to blame?

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.