According to our highly empirical assessment, something like 8543 new restaurants opened in DC in 2013. We photographed and ate at most of them. You don’t believe us? We have these never-tighter-than-now jeans we’re wearing to show you then. You don’t feel like inspecting those? So be it. Moving on.
At the end of the year we asked some of our our favorite DC 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 2014. We took those answers, combined them with some of our personal, internal excitement and here it is: a great list of 2014 BAR + RESTAURANT openings to be jazzed for now, and for the next twelve months too.
IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER (Since alphabets are silly and we all know how “precise” restaurant opening dates can be). Feel free to leave your favorites in the comments.
EL REY – 919 U Street NW. Opening date: January 10th – f you’ve been walking around the corner of 9th and U (and lets face it, you’re reading this website, so you HAVE BEEN) you maybe noticed the shipping container structure rising at 919 U Street. Well, starting January 10th that will be an awesome Mexican beer and cocktail garden and restaurant with a covered patio and a take-out window brought to you by the Hilton Brothers. Mark the date and keep and eye out for a full first look.
ROOFERS UNION – 2446 18th street NW. Opening: January – The team behind BYT Fav RIPPLE, headed by chef (and lamb champion) Marjorie Meek-Bradley is opening a new spot in the old Reef space. Expect a lot of the things you already loved: delicious, comfort themed food, all locally sourced, craft cocktails and beer, a creative wine menu and a friendly atmosphere. According to the press release: “The menu will feature house-made sausages stuffed with inspired ingredients like the andouille corndog and the merguez with harissa and lentils. Meek-Bradley will offer vegetarian snacks such as cippolini onion rings with BBQ and cauliflower in a mint pesto sauce. There will be a carnivorous variety of snacks as well including crispy pig ear salad and Denver lamb ribs with curry. An assortment of sandwiches along with classic entrees will also be available on the menu”. Brunch coming in spring too.
RED APRON plus PARTS & LABOR – 709 D Street NW. Opening: February – As if 2013 was not busy enough for Neighborhood Restaurant Group (what with Bluejacket, Iron Gate AND GBD all opening to thundering press and diner approval), they’re starting 2014 just as strong. Nate Anda, the man behind the delicious Red Apron Union Market outpost, is finally getting his proper brick-and-mortar playground with over 100 meat products to show for it, and soon the breakfast-and-lunch spot will be accompanied by next door’s dinner only restaurant where Chef Ed Witt (formerly of 701 and BYT “What’s in your Fridge?” alum) will work his magic to further showcase Anda’s meats.
MAKETTO – 1351 H Street NE . Opening: Soon– BYT’s What’s In Your Fridge Alum Erik Bruner-Yang and DURKL’s Will Sharp (Whose “Finer Things In Life With…” was one of BYT’s first features) have been working on this restaurant-retail mixed use for a while now, and it looks like the opening is very near. Expect a menu inspired by Bruner-Yang’s travels to Cambodia and Taiwan and if their Hanoi house pop-up or those super delicious pork-buns they served at BYT NYE are any indication-we’re all in for a treat.
FIOLA MARE – 3050 K Street NW. Opening: Soon – Fabio Trabbochi was named 2013 Chef of the Year at the Rammy’s and as anyone who has eaten at either Fiola or Casa Lucca can atest-it was well deserved. Now, after two restaurants downtown, he is expanding his Italian concepts to Georgetown and focusing on seafood. The orderly line starts here.
MENU MBK – 405 8th Street NW. Opening: January – Frederik De Pue has a very busy 2013. And while Table was a delicious success, his upscale seafood concept Azur (in the old Cafe Atlantico space) made it through only a few months before shutting the doors. Now, MENU MBK is about to take its place, with a distinct three levels of ideas. The ground floor will be a market, the 2nd floor a BistroBar with drinks, casual snacks and small plates and the third floor main dining room is taking cues from European-style casual dining (much like Table) and a dessert menu by Jason Ghering (formerly of Astro Donuts). So, essentially a Spice Girls of new restaurant openings-a little something TRULY for everyone.
SEVEN FACES BARROOM – 251 Florida Ave NW. Opening: Summer – Three of our absolute favorite bar folk are opening a bar together. Patrick Owens (formerly of American Ice Co, now at Ripple and a BYT DRINK DIARY alum), Owen Thomson (formerly of Range, now at Bar Pilar, and ALSO a BYT drink diary alum) and Ashley May (of Velvet Lounge, and co-creator of Spirits in Black, BYT’s favorite heavy metal cocktail night ever, with Owens) are coming together in a 1200 sq.ft space on Florida which they promise will be filled with good drinks, good food and, inevitably, great vibes. Summer could not be here soon enough.
SONA CREAMERY AND WINE BAR – 660 Pennsylvania SE, Opening: Any Day Now – A stone’s throw away from Union Market, a full on cheese bar is opening its doors. The team behind Sona has been all over social media posting photos of their progress and it looks like we’re in for a cheerful, gluttonous dairy temple any day now.
JEREMIAH LANGHORNE’s PROJECT – Location: TBD, Opening: Summer – To put an unnamed restaurant in an undisclosed location with a vague opening date on this list is a longshot but the DC food press has A LOT of faith in it, and the reason is this: McCrady’s. Aaron Silverman left this fine South Carolina operation, and opened Rose’s Luxury, which is almost-unanimously everyone’s favorite new restaurant in DC, and Langhorne comes with the same pedigree under his belt. The focus will be on vegetables and sustainable seafood, the theme is being delicious, and the location is, hopefully, Shaw (the BYT office on 9th street approves).
BIDWELL @ UNION MARKET – 1309 5th Street NE, Opening: January – John Mooney’s project at Union Market has been anticipated for what seems forever now (a lot of people talked about it in our 2012 round-up even) but despite many delays it seems like the opening date for the Market’s first ever traditional sit-down restaurant is right around the corner. What to expect from the team behind NY’s beloved Bell Book and Candle ? food sourced from the bevvy of Union Market neighbors, and fruit and veggies grown in a roof garden on site which Mooney is planning to have.
DBGB Bar & Kitchen – City Center, Opening: TBD – There aren’t too many restaurant names attached to the behemoth that is City Center, but the one thing that is coming there for certain is the DC outpost for Bouloud’s NY downtown DBGB, with a French brasseries/American tavern vibe. (Daniel Boulud afterparty photo from our James Beard coverage)
CHINA CHILCANO – 418 7th Street NW. Opening: Spring – It has been a while since the Godfather of DC small plates opened a new restaurant in the District, and the newest addition sees him both trying something new (for this area at least) and also staying very close to his Washington restaurant roots geographically. Opening in the old Olsson’s bookstore space on 7th, China Chilcano is sharing the block-and-a-half radius with Jaleo and Oyamel and a three block vicinity with Minibar/Barmini and Zaytinya. The concept is Chinese-Peruvian (or “Chifa”) and the press are salivating all over themselves. Rightfully so.
TORO TORO – 1300 Eye Street NW, Opening: March – The Richard Sandoval/Ivan Iricanin combo pack has already brought us some of DC’s most popular restaurants (from the 2 El Centro DF’s to Masa 14 to Ambar) and now have their eyes set on a Brazilian Style steakhouse downtown. For fans of their small plates-no worries, there will be plenty of those as well.
GCDC – 1730 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Opening: February – GRILLED CHEESE. AND THEN SOME MORE GRILLED CHEESE. Also: MORE GRILLED CHEESE. Ok, ok-we’re sold.
HILLTOP – Corner of Girard and Sherman NW. Opening: Late Spring – The new spot on Girard has their eyes set on becoming a real, honest-to-God neighborhood spot. The owners are related to the team that owns the U Street institution The Saloon, and while they will NOT be enforcing the no-standing policy Saloon has maintained for forever, you can expect a great beer menu, comfort foods and one of those sweet storefront seating situations, perfect for late spring/early summer people watching.
UNNAMED (from the owners of Room 11 & Petworth Citizen) – 828 Upshur Street NW, Opening: April – We LOVE Petworth Citizen. And when it opened Paul Ruppert left us with a promised us a next door restaurant overseen by Makoto Hamamura (previously of CityZen) and the French-Japanese fusion they have in store has all the makings of a very worthy Petworth destination.
DOLCEZZA FACTORY – 550 Penn Street NE – Any day is a great day for Dolcezza Gelato and now that Robb Duncan is getting an official 4000 sq.ft flagship outside of Union Market, there is one definitive destination to get your hands on it too. Grab some to go, or sit down and enjoy some with your Stumptown coffee. Take a gander at our early first look HERE.
FLIGHT WINE BAR – 777 6th Street NW, Opening: January – Penn Quarter gets a nice new hang out spot – good wine, small plates and a bound-to-be-cool decor designed by the fine folks at Edit Lab @ Streetsense (who also brought us Red Hen, Baby Wale and more)
LUPO VERDE –1401 T Street NW, Opening: Any time now – Remember when it was sort of hard to get decent casual Italian in DC? Now with Lupo Verde joining Etto and Ghibellina on 14th street, you’ll soon be almost-spoiled for choices.
if we missed any you feel we should not have missed-SHARE IN THE COMMENTS. till then, try to contain the anticipation excitement: