A Ton of Popular DC Fast-Casual Restaurants Are Expanding

More locations for tacos, burgers, bagels, and bowls.

Call Your Mother brings the bacon. Photograph by Tim Casey.

Call Your Mother
The smash hit “Jew-ish deli” and bagel shop has been on an everything-spiced roll since its Park View debut in 2018. Owners Andrew Dana and Daniela Moreira just opened their fifth area branch at North Bethesda’s Pike & Rose development, joining locations in Capitol Hill, Georgetown, and Bethesda. In addition to bagel creations, the new deli serves lunchtime sandwiches like a Latin spin on pastrami with herb mayo and veggie slaw, pastries such as chocolate-babka muffins, and coffee drinks. Look for an Old Town, Alexandria (130 N. Pitt St.) branch to open next. 11807 Grand Park Ave., North Bethesda.

cheap restaurants for vegetarians
Fresh corn tortillas stuffed with seasonal vegetables at Chaia. Photograph courtesy of Chaia.

DC’s popular farm-to-taco shop will pop up at Bethesda Row on Tuesday, September 28 for at least a year. Look for more vegetarian tacos on griddled-to-order tortillas (we’re currently obsessed with the summer corn taco), plus entrees like mushroom enchiladas and kid-friendly quesadillas. The new spot boasts 20 seats indoors plus another 12 on an outdoor patio, as well as taco window for quick pick-ups. 7237 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda.

Chiko photograph by Scott Suchman

Cumin lamb noodles and bulgogi hoagies head to the Village at Shirlington in September with the Fried Rice Collective’s fourth DC-area location of their Chinese-Korean “fine casual” place, which joins restaurants in Capitol Hill, Dupont Circle, and Bethesda. The core menu remains the same—think tangy avocado salads, dumplings, and the justly famous brisket bowl—plus a new fried rice dish and custard dessert. 4040 Campbell Ave., Arlington.

Fava Pot photo by Scott Suchman

Fava Pot
Cairo native Dina Daniels’s popular Egyptian venture adds a third brick-and-mortar location to its roster (it’s also in Falls Church and DC’s Union Market), which also includes a food truck. The street food spot near Dupont Circle is slated to open in September with koshary (a dish of lentils, rice, and pasta in tomato sauce), pita sandwiches, and bowls. Late night hours (until 1 AM on weekends) will start in the spring.  1817 M St., NW.

Hummus topped with greens and a soft-boiled egg at Little Sesame. Food styled by Nichole Bryant at The Artist Agency.

Little Sesame
The popular hummus purveyor—which recently launched a line of to-go tubs at Whole Foods—will open a third location in Bethesda Row later this year. Look for more ultra-creamy hummus bowls topped with seasonal vegetables; pita sandwiches; family-style chicken or cauliflower shawarma dinners; and soft serve.  New to the lineup will be a special kid’s menu and oat-milk shakes. Grab-and-go containers of hummus in flavors like caramelized onion and jammy tomato will be available in a retail section. 7118 Bethesda Lane, Bethesda.

Where’s the beef? Not in this PLNT Burger! Photograph courtesy of PLNT Burger

PLNT Burger
Top Chef alum Spike Mendelsohn just opened his 10th plant-based burger shop in Rockville in August. Almost all of the locations are situated inside Whole Foods markets, save for a food truck at outdoor drink-and-entertainment garden Sandlot Georgetown. In addition to fast food-style vegetarian burgers and dogs, look for new “lil’ dippers” nuggets with homemade sauces to mark the chain’s two year anniversary. 11355 Woodglen Dr. Rockville.

Photo courtesy of Roaming Rooster.

Roaming Rooster
DC’s hugely popular fried-chicken chain Roaming Rooster is booming, having grown from a family-owned shop in Woodridge to a city-wide operation with four food trucks and shops in Tenleytown and U Street. Coming up next: mammoth chicken sandwiches around North Bethesda (at the Pike & Rose development), Foggy Bottom’s Western Market food hall (2000 Pennsylvania Ave., NW), Chantilly (at the Chantilly Crossing shopping center), and East of the Anacostia River, at the Skyland Town Center.

Get a bountiful vegan spread from Shouk. Photograph by Laura Chase de Formigny

What started as an Israeli vegan fast-casual restaurant in Mount Vernon Triangle is now a burgeoning local brand. Kosher restaurateur Ran Nussbacher is bringing vegan Mediterranean bowls, cauliflower shawarma, and plant-based pita burgers to two Maryland locations this fall: a 20-seat Rockville spot in the Montrose Shopping Center (5568 Randolph Road, Rockville) and a carryout-only location in the Westwood Shopping Center (5436 Westbard Ave., Bethesda). The Carla Hall-approved veggie burgers are also available for online ordering by the 12-pack ($48,) and they ship nationwide.

Stellina near Union Market serves cacio e pepe for brunch. Photograph by Meaghan Webster.
Stellina serves cacio e pepe pasta and pizza. Photograph by Meaghan Webster.

Stellina Pizzeria
The popular Italian restaurant run by natives Antonio Matarazzo and chef Matteo Venini has expanded from its flagship near Union Market. A second location in the Village at Shirlington opened last winter with a familiar menu of neo-Neapolitan pizzas, pastas, frittura (fried snacks), panini, and desserts—plus a new Italian market and vending machine. A third Stellina is poised to open in Mount Vernon Triangle this fall with a contact-free QR code ordering system and a bar for batched cocktails and wine. 508 K St., NW.

Taco Bamba gets creative with tortillas, like this taco riff on fish n’ chips. Photograph by Greg Powers

Taco Bamba
Chef Victor Albisu’s Northern Virginia taqueria chain will welcome a Landmark branch in the fall after opening its first Maryland shop in Rockville this summer. The seventh taco joint will have a similar  mix of street-style and super-creative tacos, plus tortas (sandwiches), nachos, draft margaritas, and more. 6259 Little River Turnpike, Alexandria.

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.