“Sexy Casual” Latin Restaurant Joy by Seven Reasons Opens in Chevy Chase

But it wants to be family friendly too

Joy by Seven Reasons. Photograph by Ezequiel Vázquez-Ger.

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Seven Reasons has gone even more upscale recently with a $90 prix-fixe replacing the 14th street hotspot’s a la carte menu. But you can try the same modern Latin flavors from chef Enrique Limardo at the group’s newest, more affordable restaurant, Joy by Seven Reasons, opening in Chevy Chase on Tuesday, October 18.

Joy brands itself as both “sexy casual” and family-friendly. “We’re trying to be as broad as possible as to who we want to come,” co-owner Ezequiel Vázquez-Ger explains. Kiddos can chow down on “fancy” rice panko-crusted chicken tenders with cassava fries, while adults can “get crazy, be sexy”—as the restaurant’s tagline suggests—with a passionfruit ceviche and Amazonian gin and tonic.

The main menu features several raw dishes, including a swordfish tostada with prickly pear fruit and trout roe caviar that’s one of the few carryovers from Seven Reasons. You’ll also find plenty of salads and veggies such as the “It’s a Potato Salad?” dish stuffed into a baked potato. Mains range from seafood fettuccini with ajillo butter and tomato sauce to “Latin steak frites”—a wagyu bavette with chimichurri and truffle fries (or green salad).

Beverage Director Carlos Boada, whose drinks you may have sampled at Seven Reasons, is behind the cocktail list, which is heavy on tequila, mezcal, and Venezuelan rums. Meanwhile, the bar manager at sister restaurant Imperfecto—also a music producer—is curating the Latin house music. The decor of the 150-seat dining room aims to give off a joyful vibe with a tapestry of colorful ropes dangling from the ceiling and a neon smiley face next to the restrooms.

Joy is the part of a big expansion push coming from the Seven Reasons crew. They recently opened Quadrant, an upscale French-Latin American restaurant located in the West End Ritz-Carlton, which boasts an expansive list of premium and rare liquors. Still to come in 2023: a Spanish-Latin restaurant called the Saga moving into the Ritz-Carlton’s former Westend Bistro space. There’s also Surreal, an all-day, indoor-outdoor spot coming to Amazon’s HQ2 in National Landing. And why stop there? Vázquez-Ger says they also want to do a casual Latin sports bar for beers, arepas, and soccer.

“We still don’t have a place for it,” he says, “But we’re in the market.”

Joy by Seven Reasons. 5471 Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chase, Md. 

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.