The Latest Dish
Chef Update: Reston’s Vinifera Wine Bar & Bistro has appointed John-Michael Hamlet as its new executive chef. Previously, he was district executive chef at Compass Group USA. Katie Busch was named chef de cuisine for Bistro Vivant in McLean. Busch most recently worked as executive chef at Hospada, a Czech restaurant in New York. Mike Huff takes over the kitchen at Blacksalt for Black Restaurant Group. Todd Schofield has been named executive chef of Westfields Marriott in Chantilly, where extensive renovations to its restaurant, Wellington’s, were recently completed.
George Vetsch, former chef at C.F. Folks in Dupont Circle, has decided to work with Reza Akhavan, former general manager at Shaw’s Tavern, to open Silo in the Mount Vernon Square neighborhood. Silo will serve modern American food with Swiss and French influences. The 60-seat Silo will serve dinner only.
Restaurants: The Walrus Oyster & Ale House, named for the Lewis Carroll poem “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” will open in the former Ketchup space at National Harbor with an Eastern Shore seafood theme, including a raw bar. The consulting chef is none other than Bob Kinkead. Only a stone’s throw from the waterfront, the restaurant will be open daily with full service as well as meals to go (think lobster rolls and crab salad sandwiches eaten as you stroll). After finalizing lease negotiations, the plan is to open in time for summer.
Republic at Arlington will open in Ballston where Leek American Bistro used to be. Executive chef and operating partner Alan Newton says there will be French influence in the modern comfort food he will prepare. The drink menu will be determined in part by public voting. A February opening is planned.
Amsterdam Falafelshop plans to grow in this region. The Annapolis franchisee has the rights to open a shop in Tysons Corner. A store on 14th Street in the District is slated to open by the end of the first quarter of 2014, with another D.C. location in the works, as well as a Reston location, say founders Arianne and Scott Bennett.
Peet’s Coffee & Tea shop has signed a lease for space at 1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, in the former Citibank space that is also home to Michel Richard’s Central and the former Ten Penh restaurant (where San Francisco-based Tadich Grill will open). The region’s remaining Caribou Coffee locations will become Peet’s Coffee & Tea shops. The Caribou at 17th Street and Pennsylvania Ave., NW, is at the top of the list for conversion.
Quick Hits: Dean Vlahos is looking to open his Redstone American Grill at National Harbor, where Red Eye Grill was supposed to open…Woodley Park gets a Dunkin’ Donuts on Connecticut Avenue in the former Café International space.
Busboys & Poets will open in Northeast D.C.’s Brookland neighborhood in the Monroe Street Market mixed-use project, fall 2014. Another Busboys & Poets will open in the second quarter of 2014 in Takoma Park. A beer-centric restaurant is also slated to open in the Monroe Street Market, as well as the QSR concept & Pizza.
Chef Bradley Curtis has been hired to create the menu to complement the wines at Flight Wine Bar at 777 6th St., NW, in Penn Quarter. He previously worked at Graffiato, DGS Delicatessen, Bandolero and Zaytinya. Owners Kabir Amir and Swati Bose are new to the restaurant industry, but Swati knows her wines. She was assistant cellar master at Balthazar in New York. The 60-seat European-style wine bar opened at the end of January.
Recent Openings: Ri Ra Irish Restaurant & Pub in Georgetown unveiled its Whiskey Room. Ted’s Bulletin opened in Reston and Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steaks & Stone Crabs opened downtown. Roofers Union, a casual restaurant opened in Adams Morgan. The Argentinian steakhouse that Jose Garces plans to open in the Loews Madison Hotel at 15th and M Sts., NW, is now slated to open in early April.
Calendar: Sips & Suppers to benefit Martha’s Table and DC Central Kitchen is Jan. 25 (Sips), at the Newseum and Jan. 26 (Suppers), at various homes in D.C. Hosts are Joan Nathan, Alice Waters and Jose Andres. Turn Up The Heat: A Celebration of Women Chefs to benefit the Ovarian cancer National Alliance is Feb. 19, at the Reagan Building. Taste of the Nation is Mar. 31, at the National Building Museum.