The Latest Dish

Chef Francesco Ricchi is moving his namesake Italian restaurant, Cesco, to a larger location in Bethesda. Cesco Trattoria will occupy the former McCormick and Schmick’s location at 7401 Woodmont Ave. This new, large pizza and pasta restaurant (10,000 square feet) will feature a roomy neighborhood bar accompanied by a big bar. It is slated to open in mid-October.

The Smoke & Barrel is the name of the new upstairs beer bar at Asylum, a vegetarian (and vegan) restaurant on 18th Street, NW in the Petworth section of D.C. John Andrade and partners also own Meridian Pint, so there’s the connection. The new name reflects the highlights of the place: barbecue, beer and bourbon (what, no bacon?!) . Yum.

Mintwood Place is slated to open this fall on Columbia Road, N.W., in Adams Morgan where the yogurt shop underneath Perry’s used to be. Saied Ayoubi owns both Perry’s and Mintwood Place. Chef will be Cedric Maupillier, whose impressive resume includes Maestro, Central by Michel Richard and Citronelle. He was also part of the opening team for Medium Rare in Cleveland Park. The chef plans to source food and beverage ingredients locally and to complement the green build-out, much of the wood used was from an Amish barn in Pennsylvania. It will be open for breakfast (house-made croissants!), lunch and dinner. There are 124 seats inside and 24 on the patio.

White House staffers, your options for lunch are increasing. New-York-based Chop’t plans to open at 1730 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. Illinois-based gourmet sandwich chain Jimmy Johns plans to open nearby at 1717 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., in September. They also plan to open another Jimmy Johns at 14th and L Streets N.W., later this fall.

Spike Mendelsohn’s Good Stuff Eatery plans to expand to Crystal City on Crystal Drive, near Jaleo. It will be much larger than the Capitol Hill original spot, with the addition of a PDR (private dining room). A January opening is targeted. Based on customer comments, he, along with his sister, Micheline, is also planning a Georgetown location.

On Sept. 7, Sara Polon planned the opening of her first Soupergirl, with a dash of humor and recipes from her mother, Soupermom, aka Marilyn Polon. Soupergirl will offer homemade soups and salads that feature seasonal, fresh ingredients from local farmers, as well locally sourced breads and baked goods. It’s open for self-service lunch and dinner and carry-out. All soups, salads and baked goods are vegan and are under orthodox kosher supervision. All biodegradable scraps are deposited in the compost bins which Soupergirl shares with fellow residents of the conservation-minded building in which the store is located. Dark wood tables and light green chairs are made from 111 recycled Coke bottles. Did we mention this is in the Takoma section of D.C., or was that obvious?

Banh mi is a traditional Vietnamese sandwich of pickled vegetables and fillings such as chicken, pork and meatballs, tofu and butternut squash, in a baguette. This Vietnamese quick food has been growing in popularity in the region, care of BonMi, whose new banh mi shop will open in the former Sandella’s space at 1911 I St., N.W. A late September opening is planned.

Katsuya Fukushima has been named the new head chef at Daikaya in Chinatown (or Penn Quarter), the new ramen restaurant owned by Sushiko co-owner Daisuke Utagawa. Previously the Okinawa native worked for Jose Andres’ ThinkFoodGroup. Daikaya, is scheduled to open on 6th Street, N.W., behind the Verizon Center in the first quarter 2012.

Quick Hits: Morton’s The Steakhouse has signed a lease to re-locate its Tysons Corner steakhouse to the former Borders location in Tysons Corne, with an opening planned for 2012. Grill Kabob will open at 33rd and M Streets, N.W., in Georgetown in the old Aditi Indian restaurant space. Panera plans to open at DCUSA on Irving Street in Columbia Heights between IHOP and Panda Express by October.

Florida-based Miller’s Ale House will open its first Washington-area location at 1500 Rockville Pike next summer. This casual dining restaurant and has 50 locations nationwide. Speaking of Rockville, look for Geoff Tracy to open one of his restaurant concepts in the Againn space in Rockville. U.K.-based Wagamama (think noodles) is planning to open in the former Olsson’s bookstore space at 418 Seventh St., N.W., in Penn Quarter in early 2012. Michael Landrum, creator of the Ray’s The Steaks empire, plans to open RYSE, an urban bakeshop/café, in the City Vista building at 1065 5th St., N.W., in Mt. Vernon Square. Roti Mediterranean Grill is slated to open at 1501 Wilson Blvd. next spring, part of 14,500 square feet formerly (and partially) occupied by Oak Street Café. Also opening in Rosslyn, Ahra Cafe & Sandwich Bar at 1100 Wilson Blvd., referred to as the twin towers. Paul Park is the owner. Duplex Diner on 18th Street, N.W., between Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan has a new look and a new owner. Founding owner Eric Hirshfield sold his lucky 13-year-old place to longtime bartender, Kevin Lee. Hikari Sushi & Sake Bar is planning to open in the Atlas District at 644 H Street, N.E. Boundary Stone is under construction in Bloomingdale section of D.C. at 116 Rhode Island Ave., N.W. You’ll know the bar is open when you see the huge neon Sylvan sign (from the old Sylvan Theater) lit out front. A variety of micro-brewed beers will be featured. Marrakesh Lounge is slated to open in Adams Morgan at 1817 Columbia Rd., N.W., where Evolve used to be. Adams Morgan is popping restaurants: The Mellow Mushroom is now shooting to open this month at the old 18th and Red location, 2436 18th St., N.W. They were at the mercy of the construction gods. Cheesetique in Virginia’s Del Ray section (not far from National Airport) plans to open in the Village at Shirlington this fall. They have also added a dining room to the back of their Del Ray store.

Chef Update: Dan Giusti, head chef at 1789, is heading to across the Atlantic to Copenhagen to work at Noma, currently ranked as No. 1 restaurant in the world by S. Pellegrino’s World’s Top Restaurants. He will not be the head chef, but he will learn unique preparations from the ground up. The kitchen at 1789 will be manned by Brian Stickel, who previously worked there, and will soon be chef at The Clyde’s Group’s forthcoming downtown restaurant and music venue, The Hamilton. Cesare Lanfranconi is now at Lia’s, part of Geoff Tracy’s restaurant empire. Derek Brown has hired Joe Rumberger to run the kitchens at The Passenger and Columbia Rood, the twin bars on 7th Street, N.W., he owns with his brother Tom. Previously, Joe was sous chef at Restaurant Nora. John Engle has been named chef de cuisine at Robert Wiedmaier’s Brasserie Beck in downtown D.C. Previously he was sous chef at Marcel’s, then at the helm of Mussel Bar by RW in Bethesda.

Peter Pastan plans to expand his creative operations, but this time way outside of the D.C. area in California’s Central Coast, about an hour north of Santa Barbara. His latest venture is a bakery called Lompoc, located behind the Piedrasassi New Vineland Winery, which he owns a part of, so knows the area is in need of a good place to eat. Peter owns Obelisk in Dupont Circle and Two Amys (his wife being one of the two). He will make his own bread and grow his own wheat for it, as he also leases land from a wheat farmer nearby.

Linda Roth Conte is president of Linda Roth Associates, Inc. (LRA) specializing in making creative connections through media relations, marketing initiatives, community outreach and special events for the hospitality industry. Contact Linda at 703-417-2700 or or visit her web site at

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