The Latest Dish: May 21, 2014
QSR is alive and growing in the D.C. metro area. GRK Fresh Greek is a new healthy, fast-casual concept from a partnership that is 100 percent Greek. Their first U.S. store is in New York’s financial district. It came to the attention of Nation’s Restaurant News, which included GRK in its “Breakout Brands 2014: 10 hot, emerging restaurant concepts generating excitement in the industry.” They will introduce their signature Yeero, a classic Greek marinated meat pocket in house-baked pita. (You can get a “gyro” in most Greek QSR places, but it’s actually pronounced “yeero.”) They will offer fresh yogurt imported from Greece with sweet and savory toppings, as well as their own frozen yogurt. There will be 75 seats inside plus 36 on the outdoor patio, nicely timed for their June opening in the Golden Triangle at 1140 19th St., NW. The plan is to open eight to ten stores in the DMV region. The new owners of 1819 M St., NW, are renovating the four-story building to open MPire, a fine-dining restaurant and gentlemen’s club. Joanna’s 1819 Club was the previous tenant. The restaurant is expected to fill the first level, with a bar, lounge and entertainment on the second and third levels. The fourth level is office space. A June opening is planned.
D.C. airport dining continues to give us reason to arrive more than an hour early for our flight. Renowned chef/restaurateur Robert Wiedmaier (Marcel’s, Brasserie Beck, Mussel Bar) plans to open a restaurant in DCA’s Terminal A, at the older, southern end of Reagan National. His Sugartoads Restaurant Consulting Group is planning a Provençal restaurant, with everything sourced locally and iPads for guests to order their meals and use the internet while dining. A summer 2015 opening is targeted. Wiedmaier’s new DCA restaurant will join &pizza, Taylor Gourmet, Grille District and Starbucks. Coming to Dulles (IAD) later this year: Bar Symon from Cleveland chef Michael Symon, a DC Craft Brew station, Smashburger, brb from Thompson Hospitality, District ChopHouse, Carrabba's, Chef Geoff's and &pizza. (When else can you write and &?)
Macon Bistro & Larder should be open by the time you read this. Located in the Chevy Chase Arcade, it’s named for chef/owner Tony Brown’s hometown of Macon, Ga., as well as where he learned his classic French cooking techniques, Macon, France. His chef de cuisine is Mike Matis, who previously worked at Miami’s Yardbird Southern Table.
Il Canale in Georgetown is expanding into the space where Cannon Seafood Market was, next door at 1063 31st St., NW…Owners Ralph Brabham and Drew Porterfield and chef Aschara Vigsittaboot plan to relocate Beau Thai to bigger space at the Jefferson MarketPlace building, a new luxury apartment building on 7th Street, NW, across from City Market at O. The existing location in Shaw will close when this one opens, which should be by October. They started as a carryout when they opened in 2010 and grew into a full-service restaurant. Now they’re even bigger.
Uprising Muffin Co., a bakery and café, has opened in Shaw. It’s owned by first-time restaurateur Donnie Simpson Jr., who studied how trendy donuts and cupcakes had become, but not muffins – yet. The fast-casual spot at 1817 Seventh St., NW, offers muffins in 35 rotating flavors as well as sandwiches and salads, along with coffee and espresso drinks. He is the son of legendary WPGC (and before that, WKYS) radio personality, Donnie Simpson…U.K.-based One Group has opened its 232-seat STK steakhouse, geared in décor and menu toward women (for a change). Chef Marc Hennessey previously worked at BLT restaurants in Hong Kong as well as at upscale restaurants in Chicago and Northern California…Thai street food is the theme of Soi 38 from restaurateurs Nat Ongsangkoon & Dia Khanthongthip, which just opened in Foggy Bottom. The chef is Mitchai Pankham…Red Light, a dessert-and-cocktail-focused bar that opened in the former Bar di Bari space at 1401 R St., NW, is owned and operated by Aaron Gordon, pastry chef Robert Underwood and cocktail impresarios Ari and Micah Wilder. Red Light takes its name from that area’s former reputation. (What a long, strange road it’s been, 14th Street!)
Chef Bob Kinkead has opened Campono, a more casual restaurant adjacent to his full-service Ancora in the Watergate complex, near the Kennedy Center. Campono focuses on casual Italian food. It’s named for the town in Italy where Bob’s daughter and her family live. Campono specializes in wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizzas, hot and cold subs, salads and house-made gelato. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as takeout.