The food hall trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Now, Common Plate Hospitality—the group behind Tex-Mex restaurant Urbano 116, Mason Social, and Augie’s Mussel House and Beer Garden in Virginia—is bringing their own version to Chevy Chase. The Heights Food Hall at Wisconsin Place, right next to the Friendship Heights Metro, will feature eight stalls with an international mix of cuisines and communal bar as well as an adjoining speakeasy-style cocktail spot and full-service location of Urbano. It’s slated to open in spring of 2022.
Common Plate Hospitality will operate three of the stalls, while the rest will be leased out to up-and-coming chefs with both new and existing concepts. Details for the majority of the offerings are still in the works, but two new ventures are confirmed: This Deli of Ours will serve artisan sandwiches and an assortment of housemade pickles, and Spoons & Sticks will offer a global variety of soups including ramen and pho plus dumplings and bao. Managing partner Chad Sparrow says the idea is to use the venue as a food incubator where the company can test out concepts that might eventually evolve into standalone restaurants.
The 10,000-square-foot space, which replaces a former PF Chang’s and Anthropologie, aims to have a uniform chic white look with mosaic tiling, millennial pink accents, and plenty of greenery. “We want it to feel like you’re in one big restaurant almost, but you have the option of walking around and picking and choosing what you want,” Sparrow says. The restaurateur says the team drew inspiration for the “more elegant feel” from a food hall in New Orleans called Auction House Market. Windows will open up to an outdoor patio, which will potentially have its own bar. There will be DJs on weekends.
Meanwhile, the neighboring so-called “speakeasy” will have its own (hidden) entrance that won’t actually be accessible from the main food hall. Sparrow says the designers are looking to incorporate Chevy Chase Prohibition-era history (apparently train cars in the neighborhood transported bootleg liquor).
“We really believe that there’s such a void in Chevy Chase with food right now. The restaurants are just old, or they’re chains,” Sparrow says. “We really try to focus on places that we think need something… We think we can create a unique space that there’s nothing like it around at all.”