Mandalay has been one of the DC area’s very few destinations for Burmese food over the past two decades. Now, the Silver Spring standby, which is currently only serving carryout, will officially close on October 31.
Aung Myint, who runs the restaurant with his siblings and parents, says the closure is the culmination of several factors: an ending lease, ongoing disruptions from Metro’s Purple Line construction, and more than a year of pandemic hardships. The whole family got Covid last spring, and Myint says he doesn’t want to put his aging parents at risk anymore.
“Everybody’s getting older. I’m the youngest in the family, and I’m 48. Mom and dad, I can’t ask them to stay home. They still come on a daily basis. Mom’s 74. Dad’s 76,” Myint says. “Business is business. Nothing can replace your family.”
Myint says the family bought a building at 7302 Georgia Ave., NW to potentially move Mandalay, but they’re putting the project on hold right now and rethinking plans for the space. Mandalay first opened in College Park in 2000 before moving to Silver Spring, and at one point, it also had a more upscale location in Shaw. Myint says the flagship has been getting crushed by regulars trying to get one last taste of the restaurant in its final days. It’s become so overwhelming that they’ve had to limit orders.
Going forward, Myint is focusing on Bandoola Bowl, a fast-casual spinoff of Mandalay in Georgetown focused on Burmese salads. A second location will open inside the new Western Market food hall in Foggy Bottom in the coming weeks, allowing them to offer jobs to Mandalay staff. The Myint family is also working to open a new concept in Georgetown this fall called Sticx. The casual eatery will specialize in skewered Southeast Asian barbecue with a wine bar upstairs. (Plans for sushi served on sticks have been scrapped for now.)
“It’s giving us the luxury to think of what to do for the future of the family,” Myint says.