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Incoming options for French fare, rooftop cocktails, epic waterfront views, local seafood, and more
Despite economic stressors continuing to trigger global shortages and delays in labor, equipment, and food, several notable projects that entrepreneurs initially hoped to unveil this summer or earlier are finally ready to debut just as leaves change color around town. Other anticipated restaurants are making good on their original fall timelines.
Look forward to crisp autumn arrivals from Nama Ko, the Japanese-style replacement to Tico in Logan Circle; L’Avant-Garde, a posh Georgetown brasserie led by a renowned French chef; NYC seafood import Seamore’s in Clarendon; and a sea of high-profile Wharf openings headlined by celebrity chefs Gordon Ramsay and Philippe Chow. Chevy Chase will welcome a casual offshoot of D.C.’s Latin standout Seven Reasons and Opal, a coastal American restaurant from the team behind Logan Circle’s Nina May. Meanwhile, D.C. hotels like the St. Gregory and the new Morrow will fill out with fresh options for French cuisine.
Here are the most anticipated restaurant openings to follow this fall:
What: The former H Street NE home of Le Grenier transforms into a modern American bistro with a love for Virginia wines and spirits. Mintwood Place alum Ben Browning sends out six-course seasonal tasting menus full of homemade pastas and breads, plus an a la carte menu available at the 12-seat bar. Mika and Ian Carlin, former attorneys who met while attending law school at the University of Virginia, serve as both resident sommeliers and co-managers. The two-story rowhouse got a midcentury modern redesign from HapstakDemetriou+ with pendant lighting, greenery, and banquettes.
Where: 502 H Street NE
When: The week of Monday, September 12
Michelin-starred chef Johnny Spero (Reverie) pays tribute to the nightlife in Spain’s Basque country in D.C.’s Capitol Crossing complex. Bar Spero’s seafood-heavy menu features Mid-Atlantic ingredients, imported delicacies like Spanish turbot, and Autumn Olive pork from the Shenandoah Valley. A sleek, neon-lit bar serving cocktails, wines, and regional beers on tap is joined by wooden four-tops and built-in booths. Open from happy hour to last call.
Where: 250 Massachusetts Avenue NW
When: Wednesday, September 14
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What: Boston-based celebrity chef Michael Schlow replaces his Latin standby Tico with a polished, sushi-centric destination for high-quality fish, small hot and cold plates, and private omakase experiences. Schlow scooped up fellow James Beard Award-winning restaurateur Stephen Starr’s star Morimoto chef in Philly to lead Nama Ko’s kitchen in D.C. Derek Watson’s opening menu includes hamachi sashimi dressed with ponzu, serrano chiles and cilantro, black sesame and honey swirl soft serve, and koji-aged pork chops. A 12-seat sushi bar will be joined by a reconfigured 80-seat dining room and 15-seat bar that’s big on sakes and Japanese whiskeys. //3877 put together the new look.
Where: 1926 14th Street NW
When: Late September
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What: The Montauk-obsessed seafood chain’s first outpost outside of New York City opens in the overhauled Crossing Clarendon complex with a menu full of Chesapeake Bay oysters and fish. The 2,600-square-foot corner restaurant replaces a Baja Fresh with lots of nautical-chic touches from local artists. Designated a “smart catch leader” by the James Beard Founation, the six Seamore’s locations across NYC serve daily catches straight from the dock, plus lobster rolls, monkfish, scallops, steelhead trout, seared tuna, and fisherman’s stew. There’s also chicken tinga tacos, kale and avocado salad, and churro ice cream sandwiches. Restaurateurs Jay Wainwright and Topher Bertone-Ledford tapped local chef Laurence Cohen to spearhead the menu that includes a “Reel Deal” combo with a choice of fish, sauce, and sides. Open for happy hour and dinner to start.
Where: 2815 Clarendon Boulevard, Arlington, Va.
When: Late September/early October
What: The team behind Georgetown’s acclaimed cocktail bar L’Annexe adds a sophisticated French brasserie next door that pays homage to Parisian nightlife. Renowned French chef Gilles Epié — the youngest chef to receive a Michelin star at age 22 (in 1980 at Le Pavillon des Princes) — was most recently at the helm of the five-star Turtle Bay Resort in Oahu, Hawaii, and the former Montage Beverly Hills before that. His star-studded Rolodex of political and celebrity guests include U.S. Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton; French Presidents Emmanuel Macron and Nicolas Sarkozy; and Princess Diana, Bruce Springsteen, Sharon Stone, and Robert De Niro.
Where: 2915 M Street NW
When: October
What: Co-owners Colin McClimans and Danilo Simic, the duo behind Logan Circle’s super-seasonal mainstay Nina May, tack on a Chevy Chase destination for American coastal cuisine with lots of fish, vegetables, and meats. An open kitchen with a wood-fired oven plans to bake breads and roast proteins and vegetables. An 80-seat dining room anchored by a circular bar is joined by a second floor with another kitchen for private events up to 30. Opal will be open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.
Where: 5534 Connecticut Avenue NW
When: October
What: Native Washingtonian Keem Hughley, a partner and director of sales at Cambodian cafe and retail store Maketto, opens a visionary project inside the former three-story home of Smith Commons. Bronze reimagines the history of the African diaspora through the lens of a fictional character named Alonzo Bronze. The 5,300-square-foot space will get a complete gut refresh and resurface as 150-seat Bronze. A 26-foot bar on the first floor will offer a large cocktail menu with spirits from all over the world. A newly enclosed back patio filled with leafy accents will sit on the second and third floors. Barmini alum and Hanumanh mixologist Al Thompson leads the bar program at “Crane Room” on the top floor. Brooklyn native and acclaimed Afro-Caribbean chef Toya Henry is also part of the project, and Foreign National founder Erik Bruner-Yang is a minority partner.
Where: 1245 H Street NE
When: Late October
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What: The partners behind Seven Reasons, D.C.’s pricey Latin standout full of artfully plated dishes that Esquire rated as the No. 1 new restaurant in the country in 2019, open a casual, a la carte offshoot up in Chevy Chase. Venezuelan chef Enrique Limardo and co-owner Ezequiel Vázquez-Ger are calling the Maryland edition Joy by Seven Reasons. The 150-seat counterpart, which sits in snazzy outdoor shopping center The Collection, will be more affordable with family-style options and South American dishes.
Where: 5471 Wisconsin Avenue, Chevy Chase, Md.
When: Fall
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The second phase of Hoffman-Madison Waterfront’s $3.6 billion Wharf development will add a dozen new restaurants to the mile-long scenic stretch of the Southwest neighborhood, including blockbuster arrivals from celebrity chefs Gordon Ramsay and Philippe Chow.
What: The full-service, luxury brand from Laguna Beach, California-based Montage International tapped W alum Barry Koslow to lead all three stylish dining destinations at its debut D.C. hotel perched on the Potomac River. That includes Latin-leaning Flora Flora, an indoor-outdoor restaurant overlooking a pool deck; Moonraker, a rooftop lounge serving sushi and Japanese spirits; and Bar Pendry, a lobby-level cocktail den decked out in gold and navy decor.
Where: 655 Water Street SW
When: October/November
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What: British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s first D.C. location creates its namesake dish with fresh and sustainable cod coated with custard powder batter. Shrimp, lobster, and chicken also get the crispy treatment at its existing Las Vegas and Orlando locations. “Chips” (aka fries) also shine solo, loaded up with meats and sauces.
Where: 665 Wharf Street SW, Suite 730
When: Early fall
What: Vegas-born beef Wellington sensation Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen plants its first East Coast flag along D.C.’s Southwest Waterfront. Michelin-starred chef Gordon Ramsay’s surf-and-turf restaurant, which pays tribute to his hit Hell’s Kitchen TV show on Fox, slides into a scenic, two-story waterfront building. The D.C. edition of Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen, the first that’s unaffiliated with a casino, will be co-led by chef Christina Wilson. The menu circulates famed dishes from Ramsay’s long-running global reality series, which includes a best-selling beef Wellington, the Hell’s Kitchen burger, and sticky toffee pudding. Classics like a Negroni and Old Fashioned are joined by a dry ice-adorned Smoke on the Boulevard served in a lantern and the Notes from Gordon, complete with a personalized message from Ramsay himself.
Where: 652 Wharf Street SW, Suite 730
When: Fall
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Hong Kong native Philippe Chow, the revered chef behind a showy pair of Manhattan power spots, brings his beloved Peking duck and other family-style favorites down to the Wharf. The 7,000-square-foot space at the base of the luxury Amaris condo complex features a huge covered patio with views of the Potomac River. Chow’s original showpiece debuted on the Upper East Side in 2005 and quickly amassed a devoted A-list following for its modern Beijing-style menu. Recent celebrity sightings at the glitzy, white-tablecloth stalwart include actor Forest Whitaker and Nick Cannon. Along with Peking duck theatrically carved tableside, popular orders include chicken satay; hand-pulled noodles; salt and pepper prawns; crispy beef; lobster fried rice; and soup dumplings.
Where: 635 Wharf Street SW
When: Late fall
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Downtown’s luxury new office complex, already home to buzzy centerfolds like Philotimo, Dauphine’s, and Shōtō, will welcome a cluster of new dining options this fall (1100 15th Street NW).
What: Grazie Grazie sub shop owner Casey Patten and Bammy’s chefs Gerald Addison and Chris Morgan expand in Midtown Center with a new destination for pizza and other Italian-American favorites. The project sits next to their boozy poultry shack Little Chicken that opened this spring.
When: Late September
The global hospitality group behind showy Japanese izakaya Shōtō unveils a pair of lively counterparts in the back. Open from lunch until late, Ākēdo is a fast-casual Japanese street food spot with sandos and yakitori. The Arcade is a scene-y speakeasy with experimental cocktails and bottle service. Tokyo-based designer Noriyoshi Muramatsu handled the look.
When: Fall
What: The West End’s St. Gregory Hotel welcomes a new bistro inspired by D.C. music legend Duke Ellington, whose namesake park sits across the street. The sunny corner formerly occupied by Tredici Enoteca will offer French fare with contemporary twists. Open for breakfast and dinner daily.
Where: 2033 M Street NW
When: Fall
Michelin-starred chef Nicholas Stefanelli (Philotimo, Officina, Masseria) spearheads a trio of food and beverage ventures inside The Morrow Washington DC, Curio Collection by Hilton, a new 203-room hotel in NoMa.
Le Clou: The hotel’s 75-seat anchor restaurant on the main floor puts a modern spin on a traditional French brasserie, complete with chandeliers and a wraparound marble bar. An adjacent cocktail bar, dubbed Lobby Lounge, is lined with white oak columns and plush furniture. By day, guests can order coffees, juices, and elixirs.
Upstairs at The Morrow: This rooftop lounge and bar with panoramic city views from the Capitol Building to the Washington Monument serves cocktails, wine, charcuterie boards, and light bites.
Where: 222 M Street NE
When: Fall
An intimate cocktail lounge on the 11th floor called Vesper will debut this winter with caviar service, elegant starters, and live music.
What: Experimental chef Damian Brown, a comfort foods wizard with a crazy Instagram following for his wonderfully wacky waffle and flavor combos, brings Truxton Circle a vibrant, mimosa-fueled offshoot of his wildly popular, all-day District Heights brunch spot Uncaged Chefs. For Brown’s first D.C. proper project, sliding in ANXO Cidery & Pintxos Bar’s former address, he imports popular creations like Cinnamon Toast Crunch-topped fried chicken on French toast waffles and a salmon cake Benedict with cilantro hollandaise and sweet pepper relish on a tater tot waffle. The upbeat, two-story replacement to Anxo, complete with a Rick and Morty wallpaper motif, lives up to its new name with a dizzying assortment of mimosas in every color of the rainbow (plus lots of slushy brunch drinks).
Where: 300 Florida Avenue NW
When: Fall
What: A new “French-Canadian disco” shimmies into the old Southern Hospitality space this fall. Le Mont Royal comes from Cotton & Reed’s ex-distiller Chas Jefferson and Beuchert Saloon alum Bart Hutchins, whose shared love for nightlife in Montreal and Paris is the muse for a velvet banquette-lined venture dripping in disco balls and its name scribbled in hot-pink neon out front. Jefferson brings the party with natural wines, grower champagnes, and fun cocktails, while Hutchins plans to fancy up Canadian poutine and ice cream-stuffed Twinkies with foie gras. After sit-down dinner service with a four-course tasting option, patrons can head upstairs to dance the night away to a vinyl soundtrack.
Where: 1815 Adams Mills Road NW
When: Fall
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Plus, more D.C. restaurant reopenings to note
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