Let’s face it: if there is one thing D.C. loves, it is a new restaurant or bar opening.
At the end of last year we asked some of our our favorite D.C. food writers to tell us which they really liked, liked a little less, hated etc. While we were at it we ALSO asked them which restaurant openings they were SUPER excited about in 2017. We took those answers, combined them with some of our personal, internal excitement and here it is: a great list of 2017 BAR + RESTAURANT openings to be jazzed for the next twelve months.
In anticipated order of opening:
- Hill Prince (1337 H Street NE) – Nick and David Wiseman already brought us some neighborhood favorites in NW (DGS Delicatessen and Little Sesame) and SW (Whaley’s) and are making a move into the NE quadrant with Hill Prince, which will open in phases. In January, an intimate storefront bar (bonus: all drinks $10 or under) and then come spring a courtyard dining hang. Think of it as a more casual date option for those who swear by the Iron Gate model concept.
- Tiger Fork (922 N Street NW Rear in Blagden Alley) – The team behind Fainting Goat is developing a Hong Kong inspired concept in the old Rogue 24 space, featuring dishes such as Char Siu-style roasted goose, brisket noodle soups and, wait for it, cocktails they claim are ACTUALLY good for you. We’re are excited for another more casual but still date-y Asian spot in town.
- Honeysuckle (1990 M Street NW) – Vidalia fans rejoice: Hamilton Johnson, who spent eight year’s cooking under Jeff Buben and then six months with the Honeysuckle concept in pop-up form, is taking over his mentor’s location and promising a place where the “comforts of Charleston, South Carolina’s genuine welcome and warm hospitality” are alive and well (side note: if there ever was a name of an American regional chef with Southern tendencies, Hamilton Johnson is it, right?).
- Arroz (901 Massachussets Ave NW) – While a Marriott Marquis restaurant opening doesn’t feel quite as exciting as some other options, the fact that this is a Mike Isabella project, with George Pagonis, his main man at Kapnos at the helm, is filling us with all sorts of hope and unexpected excitement. The flavors are Spanish and Portugese AND North African. We will be the first in line for all the tagines and paellas they’ll serve us.
- Colada Shop (1405 T Street NW) – Affordable and delicious Cuban food and cocktails by former ThinkFoodGroup’s beverage main man Juan Coronado? We’re in.
- Mirabelle (1900 16th Street NW) – Frank Ruta, after Palena’s closing and the Grill Room stint, is back at it in another new kitchen, again with Aggie Chin (who won Best Pastry Chef at the RAMMYs last year) by his side. Fingers crossed Ruta’s burgers are again on the menu.
- Red Apron Burger Bar (1323 Connecticut Ave, NW) – GBD is dead, long live RABB (the acronym is not a real thing but, you know). What to expect: damn good burgers and damn good beer. (DGB, anyone?)
- Spike Gjerde’s Projects at The Line (18th and Columbia NW) – When The Line opens doors in Adams Morgan this spring it will house almost half a dozen of highly anticipated food and beverage projects. From the team at Woodberry Kitchen comes A Rake’s Progress (a classic dining offering), A Rake’s Bar (A BAR) and The Cup We All Race For (a coffee shop).
- Erik Bruner-Yang’s Projects at The Line (18th and Columbia NW) – From Bruner-Yang there are two restaurants planned inside the hotel: a global cuisine focused, more causal Brothers and Sisters, and a tasting menu project named Spoken English.
- Marble Alley (2412 18th Street NW) – Dram and Grain’s Trevor Frye is the next person making Adams Morgan drinking better with Marble Alley, which will focus on “comfort as much as cocktails”. BONUS: his other project, Five to One, a music-themed cocktail bar in the former Dickson Wine Bar location on U Street is on the immediate horizon too.
- Qijian ( 4500 East-West Highway, Bethwesda) – Chinese food king and James Beard Nominee Peter Chang is opening a dual concept in Bethesda sometime in May. The choice is yours: an a la carte option and a tasting-menu experience, which Chang’s team has compared, ambition wise, to Minibar. Now, can we just have something open in D.C. proper too, please?
- The Salt Line (79 Penn Ave, SE) – Chef Kyle Bailey’s new venture is a bar / restaurant / New England ale house. Expect fresh oysters, lobster rolls, but also more adventurous offerings like Portuguese seafood stew and seafood charcuterie. And of course, Narragansetts aplenty.
- Gravitas (1401 Okie Street, NE) – Ivy City’s most promising restaurant opening of 2017 is Matt Baker’s first solo restaurant, moving into the Pappas Tomato Factory in Ivy City. Baker, who has Minibar and Marcel’s on his resume, will offer a couple elegant dining options: a five-course chef’s tasting menu, a five-course vegetarian tasting menu, and an a la carte menu at the bar. Vegetarians, rejoice: the concept promises to treat vegetables as equals, not just sides/afterthoughts.
- Reverie (3210 Grace Street NW) – In terms of pure local goodwill, Johnny Spero’s Reverie is shaping up to be this year’s Tail Up Goat. A casual but dreamy location offering a la carte deliciousness with dishes topping out at $30 and a small, affordable tasting menu. Spero, whose resume includes Minibar, Noma, Cappy’s and most recently Columbia Room, will stick with his trademark style of showcasing ingredients in fun and unexpected ways.
- Isabella Eatery – Mike Isabella is a food mogul, and he is about to get a fully blown 41,000 sq.ft culinary playground to prove it. Yes, it will be in Tyson’s but with this roster of Isabella’s hits on the docket, it may very well be worth a full day trip (eat and repeat and repeat).
- The Wharf Restaurants – The upcoming 2 billion dollar, 24 acre Wharf development is about to house enough restaurants to fill this whole round up all by itself and the only concern we have is finding enough time in 2017 to eat at ALL of these places. Eric and Ian Hilton will open a waterfront pub, called The Brighton. Cathal Armstrong will open Kaliwa, a new dining destination with a distinct Filipino, Thai and Korean menu. Masseria’s Nick Stefanelli, is opening a three-story Italian market and restaurant which will include a 80-seat trattoria, a rooftop bar, an Italian eatery, a butcher shop, cheese counter and bakery. Del Mar by Fabio Trabocchi will pay homage to the island of Mallorca. There’s Requin by Top Chef Mike Isabella and Top Chef Finalist Jennifer Carroll and MORE (this really IS just the tip of the iceberg).
And that is that.
Holler if we missed something you felt was unmissable. And, happy eating.