If you’ve spotted Danny Meyer around town—and you may have, he’s been making the rounds to places like Kinship, Rose’s Luxury, the Dabney, and Tail Up Goat—there’s a good reason. The New York restaurateur (and Shake Shack founder) is opening his esteemed restaurant group’s only full-service restaurant outside Manhattan. It’ll be inside the Navy Yard branch of the sleek Thompson Hotel.
Maialino Mare, slated to debut this winter, will pay homage to the seafood trattorias of Rome. The restaurant is a spinoff of another of Meyer’s Roman-style restaurants, Maialino in Gramercy Park (Fun fact: when Meyer was working as a tour guide in Italy, he was stuck with the nickname “maialino,” which means “little pig.” He thought they were calling him “Meyerino” the whole time.) Chef Rose Noel, a Maialino alum who is currently executive sous chef at Manhatta, another Meyer property, will head up the kitchen.
Maialino Mare will also be his Union Square Hospitality Group’s first seafood-focused restaurant. Meyer says Noel’s menu will stay faithful to tradition: “Rome has a pretty straightforward canon. She doesn’t seem to have a need to prove that she’s reinventing food. She wants to do food you know done better than you ever thought it could be.”
Expect “a ton” of grilled and roasted fish, plus Maialino staples like suckling pig, cacio e pepe, carbonara, and linguine alla vongole. The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and there will be plenty of outdoor seating. New York firm Parts and Labor Design—who also did the Eaton Workshop‘s’ Kintsugi cafe and American Son—is overseeing the design. Meyer wants the dining room to “feel like a big hug,” not a Disney version of Rome. Meyer is also extending his hospitality group’s no-tipping policy here (what would have been gratuity has been figured into menu prices, and both front and back of the house staffs are paid accordingly).
One thing that won’t be happening: The branch of Union Square Cafe that Meyer was planning for DC’s Capitol Crossing development. “From an engineering standpoint,” he says, “it was far, far more complicated than we’d ever anticipated.”
As for Maialino Mare, “I hope it’s something Washington will appreciate,” Meyer says. “I’m very clear that the restaurant scene has evolved dramatically. Every time I go to DC there’s a new place I need to try and several I want to go back to. If I were to look back ten years, it was always meat and potatoes and home by 8.”
Maialino Mare, Third and Tingey sts., SE.