The Latest Dish
Roberto Donna, one of DC’s most famous (and infamous) chefs will reign over the kitchen at La Forchetta, a new full service, 116-seat, family-style Italian restaurant on New Mexico Ave. NW, where Balducci’s used to be. Owner Hakan Ilhan is best known for his Pizza Autentica chain, as well as three Café Cantinas, three Einstein Bros. Bagels and Gelato Dolce Vita in Georgetown. The country-style Italian restaurant is slated to open at the end of this month.
First announced a few months ago, husband and wife chefs Emily Sprissler and Jason Cote are finalizing plans to open a casual seafood res¬taurant in Glover Park called Mayfield & Pine, where Town Hall used to be. Sprissler’s face may be familiar, as she appeared on season two of Top Chef in 2006. Her food may be familiar from her time at Vidalia. They both worked at Wegman’s in Northern Virginia before landing the Glover Park site, and plan to open by the end of April.
Chef/owner Frederik De Pue signed a lease to open a restaurant called Table in D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood on N St. NW. He plans to be open seven days a week, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. The restaurant will serve wine and beer, but only tableside, as there are no plans for a bar. The building was formerly a car repair shop and Pue plans to keep its rustic look (re: lots of concrete). There will be outdoor seating on the roof deck. De Pue owns 42° Catering and for¬merly worked at Smith Commons. A summer opening is planned.
Ch-ch-ch-changes: The Reef in Adams Morgan is about to undergo renovations to give a fresh feel to the space. Renovations will main¬ly occur on the middle fish tank floor. Owner Brian Harrison plans to install new hardwood floors, and reconfigure the booths. Construction will take place on various weekdays so that he can stay open for business. The ground floor will also be renovated at some point next year.
Oded Weizmann plans to open an “urban retro deli gastro-pub” called Carving Room in NoMa at 300 Massachusetts Ave. NW. The neighborhood bar and restaurant will serve house-cured, hand-carved meat for their sand¬wiches. The 55-seat space plus patio will have an open kitchen with meat carvers up front and a bar with ten taps serving regional beers. The plan is for it to be a quick service place during weekday lunch and transform into a full-service restaurant at night and on weekends. Oded used to manage Silver Diner in Rockville as well as BD’s Mongolian Barbecue in Bethesda. He also worked for Bedrock Management. Carving Room is slated to open by late summer.
14th and S Streets, NW: Ted’s Bulletin from the Matchbox Food Group plans to open by end of 4th quarter 2012. Mark Kuller plans an upscale Southeast Asian restaurant there, close to the end of the year as well.
Openings Update: Del Frisco’s Grille plans to open at 12th Street and Pennsylvania Ave. NW, (former Les Halles site) in early July. Alegria, Bazin’s Mexican restaurant, should be open by beginning of March next door to sister restaurant, Bazin’s on Church. Yo! Sushi at Union Station is now looking at a June opening.
Eric and Ian Hilton are planning to be quite busy this year opening new restaurants. The brothers behind Marvin, The Gibson, Blackbyrd, and American Ice Company, plan to open an Italian gastro-pub and wine bar in the former HR-57 jazz club spot at 1610 14th St. NW, featuring live music. The yet-to-be-named restaurant plans to open this fall. They are also planning to open The Brixton, a British pub at 901 U St. NW by end of second quarter 2012, as well as a taqueria called El Ray a few doors down at 919 U Street, NW, in early fall. Not to mention a burger joint called Satellite Kitchen at 2047 9th St. NW. Did we mention they also plan to open Chez Billy, a French-style bistro in Petworth soon?
Chef & GM Update: Brian McPherson is the new chef at Jackson 20 and the Grille at Morrison House in Old Town. Rick Dugan has been named General Manager of BRIO Tuscan Grille in Rockville, MD. He was formerly GM at O’Donnell’s Sea Grill in Bethesda and in Kentlands for many years, as well as at Clyde’s of Chevy Chase. Chris Kujala was named executive pastry chef for Robert Wiedmaier’s restaurants. Maura Delaney is GM at McCormick & Schmick’s in Reston. She had previously been GM at Morton’s Steakhouse in Tysons Corner before it closed.
Izakaya Seki, a 40-seat Japanese bar and restaurant, located in the former Spott’s Barber Shop space at 1117 V St. NW, is under construc¬tion. Owners of the building and restaurant are Cizuka Seki and her father, Hiroshi Seki, a chef-owner who had his own place outside of St. Louis. Instead of a bar on the first floor, there will be a nine-seat food counter. The main din¬ing room will be on the second level. Although there is no bar, there will be beer, sake and a selection of shōchū, a Japanese spirit that was a big hit at the International Food & Wine Show. As soon as they figure out how to get gas to the building, they will have a better idea of an opening date.
Quick Hits: Mike Isabella has targeted 14th and W Streets, NW, for a Greek concept restaurant. Solly’s Tavern will soon be expand¬ing into Madjet, the Ethiopian restaurant space next door, and will offer a food menu. Should be up and running by beginning of March.
Linda Roth Conte is president of Linda Roth Associates, Inc. (LRA), specializing in market¬ing initiatives, community outreach and special events for the hospitality industry. Contact her at 703-417-2700 or Linda@LindaRothPR.com or visit her web site at www.LindaRothPR.com