On the way: a bar devoted to all things fizzy, a long-awaited mod Caribbean spot, and more.
Kema by Kenaki
11325 Seven Locks Rd., Potomac
The siblings behind two sushi destinations—Kenaki in Gaithersburg and Ako by Kenaki in DC’s Roost food hall—are heading to Cabin John, where they’ll put out a fast-casual array of maki and donburi bowls starting in September.
3033 Wilson Blvd., Arlington
Clarendon channels California this spring with the opening of a breezy, coastally inspired hangout from the owners of Shaw hot spots Calico and Tiger Fork. Mornings will bring coffee and pastries from a walk-up kiosk, while evenings call for seafood plates, low-alcohol cocktails, and wallet-friendly wines. Amping up the Cali vibe: a huge 125-seat patio shaded by flowering trees.
250 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Johnny Spero, chef/owner of the Georgetown tasting room Reverie, is going casual at this high-energy restaurant in the Capitol Crossing development, inspired by Spanish nightlife. The 170-seat dining room and patio, slated for spring, will center around seafood, while the bar focuses on sherry, vermouth, and wine.
8354 Broad St., McLean
This June, the bustling Boro development is getting a twin spinoff of Navy Yard’s popular happy-hour destination. Expect a similar menu of frozen margs, queso, taco platters, and burritos, plus brunch and a covered outdoor space.
963 Palmer Alley, NW
Centrolina chef/owner Amy Brandwein is expanding her once-tiny neighboring CityCenterDC cafe, Piccolina, into another storefront this summer with 70 seats. Expect more breads, salads, and wood-fired dishes, plus Sicilian-style granitas.
Big Drip Cafe
801 Southern Ave., Oxon Hill
Danielle Harris makes magic at her alcove-size Petworth cafe, Little Food Studio. This spring, with the help of Project Restore, a state-run funding program for small businesses, she’ll transform a bigger space in Prince George’s County into what she calls “a real coffee-shop experience.” Expect many of the things Harris has become known for: terrific breakfast pastries, sandwiches, and coffee drinks, plus smoothies and flatbreads.
1101 S. Joyce St., Arlington
Johnny Spero (Reverie, Bar Spero) teams up with barman Scott Parker (Don Tito, Barley Mac) and the hops obsessives at Aslin Beer Company for a massive beer-and-pizza hall at Westpost. On Thursday, March 24, they’ll unveil a ’90s design that channels Saved by the Bell; a roster of low-ABV beers; and a menu of easy eats such as wings, burgers, and thin tavern-style pizzas.
Boogy & Peel
1 Dupont Cir., NW, Suite 115
Former Rose’s Luxury sous chef Rachael Jennings will focus on “bastardized Neapolitan” pizza alongside soft-serve and boozy slushies at her debut restaurant in Dupont (named in part after her late German-shepherd/husky mix). Seasonal vegetables will top some thin-crust pies, but more indulgent combinations mimic the flavors of a Big Mac or an Italian sub.
633 Pennsylvania Ave., SE
One of the pandemic’s most beloved sandwich pop-ups is getting a permanent home near sibling restaurants Beuchert’s and the brand-new Mid-Atlantic restaurant Newland. Chef Andrew Markert is dreaming up new sandos including a shrimp-toast/po’ boy hybrid, and he’ll turn out larger plates such as a Nashville-hot lamb shank and a pata-style fried pork. Pair them with draft cocktails, natural wines, local beer, and, at weekend brunch, music from a DJ booth.
2649 Connecticut Ave., NW; 522 Eighth St., SE
DC is getting two new Cantonese destinations for soup dumplings, Peking duck, and lobster sticky rice, courtesy of Chris Zhu. The Woodley Park and Barracks Row spinoffs of her glitzy Tysons restaurant will offer outdoor seating for dim sum alfresco.
Astro Beer Hall
4001 Campbell Ave., Arlington
What was the longtime home of Capitol City Brewing in Shirlington will be taken over in late summer by the folks behind DC and Falls Church’s Astro Doughnuts. So besides a roomy, beer-garden-like patio and brew-friendly snacks such as deviled eggs and fried pickles, it’ll also offer fried-to-order cake doughnuts.
940 Rose Ave., North Bethesda
Beach fans can welcome this West Coast newcomer with its fish tacos and fried-seafood platters to Pike & Rose this spring. Though the flagship is rooted in the SoCal surf scene, this first spinoff has a DC alum helming the boat: Derek Simcik. Speaking of boats, there’s a big one on the patio that will double as a warm-weather bar.
3211 Mount Pleasant St., NW
Some of DC’s best breakfast tacos have found a home after years of pop-ups. This summer, Gus May and Ana-Maria Jaramillo will channel the flavors of Jaramillo’s native Texas border town, serving up egg-stuffed housemade tortillas, plus street-style lunch tacos and fresh limonata.
200 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Food halls come in many flavors, and we can’t wait for DC’s first Japanese version. The 20,000-square-foot emporium, which forecasts a summer debut, will house an izakaya, omakase counter, Japanese-American steakhouse, and bakery—plus a vendor hall with ramen, udon, katsu, and more.
3451 Benning Rd., NE
Mary Blackford is among a new generation of DC natives who are championing their food culture east of the Anacostia River. Her food hall/community-health hub will support Black-owned businesses and farmers. This summer, it will feature eight stalls serving cuisines of the diaspora—African, Caribbean, and American.
Miss Toya’s Creole House
923 Ellsworth Dr., Silver Spring
Jeffeary Miskiri may be only 34, but he’s already building a mini-empire (Po Boy Jim, Creole on 14th, Suga & Spice). This colorful Cajun/Creole haunt will be his biggest spot yet, with 150 seats and a patio for downing rum cocktails, jambalaya, and buttery crab claws.
Oakton Tasting Room
2952 Chain Bridge Rd., Oakton
The Fermented Pig has long been selling its charcuterie at farmers markets. Now the family-run business is teaming up with Settle Down Easy Brewing Co. for a brewpub. Elevated comfort food will span pork momo dumplings to sausage souvlaki.This summer, the Fermented Pig will also open a market and “teaching kitchen” for sausage- and bacon-making classes in Merrifield (8312 Lee Hwy., Fairfax).
2931 S. Glebe Rd., Arlington
After 12 years in Seven Corners, Seng Luangrath is relocating her Lao flagship this summer. With an assist from chef-son Boby Pradachith, Padaek will reopen in the Arlington Ridge development with double the space, a private room, and the same fiery flavors as the original.
1027 Seventh St., NW
The Dabney’s Jeremiah Langhorne describes his all-day dining room as “more similar to a French restaurant you’d find in France than the ones you’d find in America.” Expect fresh-from-the-market, simple plates—think omelets with foraged chanterelles and bouillabaisse with local seafood.
2108 Vermont Ave., NW
The Maxwell Park team is uncorking another anti-pretension wine bar this summer. It’ll be devoted to all things bubbly: Champagne, pét-nat, cider, beer, and seltzer. To eat: fried chicken and Japan-meets-Detroit pizzas from chef Masako Morishita.
2017 14th St., NW
After a shakeup departure by Cane chef Peter Prime, Trinidad native Jeanine Prime’s new restaurant is on track for a late-spring opening. Small plates will explore Trinidadian cuisine and its many influences, while Service Bar’s Glendon Hartley is behind the rum-centric bar program.
2911 District Ave., Fairfax
The team behind DC’s Maydan is branching out to the Mosaic district this summer, opening a casual Middle Eastern restaurant and bar helmed by Egyptian American chef Omar Hegazi.
7056 Carroll Ave., Takoma Park
David Perez and Carolina McCandless are turning their beloved Mexican cafe, Cielo Rojo, into a fast-casual destination for tortas and San Francisco–style burritos. Fear not, Cielo fans: This summer, it’ll move to a bigger space (7211 Carroll Ave.) with a full bar and a private dining room.
1201 S. Joyce St., Arlington
At this emerald-hued, 40 seat mahjong and dim sum parlor, customers sip five-spice Manhattans and snack on shrimp dumplings and turnip cakes with Chinese sausage. It’s a collaboration between Andrew Lo and Scott Chung of Bun’d Up, and is housed behind the fast-casual bao joint.
513 W. Broad st., Falls Church
Magnolia at the Mill alum Thomas Harvey is dishing up comfort fare at his bakery/market/restaurant. It opened in March with biscuit breakfast sandwiches, smoky plates such as cedar-plank salmon from a wood-fired oven, and rocky-road bread pudding.
150 Gibbs St., Rockville
Yomi Ajao and Francis Odiase conjure the vibrant flavors of Lagos with a 250-seat pan-African restaurant at Rockville Town Square. On the menu: spicy roast goat, pepper soup, and plenty of suya.
4201 Georgia Ave., NW
Petworth’s retro fry-house offers buckets of pickle-brined chicken, over-the-top sundaes, and fanciful Southern cocktails. The menu’s sleeper hit: honey-butter-drenched dinner rolls.
1100 15th St., NW
Global restaurateur Arjun Waney, known for sceney Japanese spots, adds a sleek downtown izakaya with a dizzying menu of robata and sushi to his portfolio.
Magpie and the Tiger
828 Upshur St., NW
Kevin Tien and longtime right-hand man, Caleb Jang, have returned to the former home of their hit Petworth restaurant, Himitsu, for a Korean-inspired concept.
3648 King St., Alexandria
This hyper-nostalgic spot from the folks behind Alexandria’s Bread and Water Company bakery opened in March. The kitchen puts out its own menu—think grilled ham and eggs and shrimp ’n’ grits—and also handles BeeStreet, the group’s delivery/takeout-only concepts, which include its popular Bun Papa burgers; a pizza shop; and Boom Chicky, featuring global spins on fried chicken.
1100 15th St., NW
It’s been a while since downtown DC enjoyed a splashy fine-dining debut like this stylish Greek arrival from Masseria’s Nicholas Stefanelli.
Piccoletto and Hiraya
1110 Vermont Ave., NW
Pogiboy’s Paolo Dungca fuses Asian flavors with Italian pastas—think wild-mushroom pappardelle with shoyu butter—at this stand inside DC’s Block food hall. Nothing on the menu tops $11. He’s also turning out eight-course Filipino tasting menus at Hiraya, his ambitious pop-up which is also located at the Block.
9201 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring
What was once the historic Mrs. K’s Toll House has gotten a modern makeover thanks to Takoma Beverage Co. owner Chris Brown. A sprawling drinks garden and tavern debuted last year. Now, there’s a cafe serving coffee, pastries, and sandwiches, plus a date-night-ready American restaurant that draws from an onsite organic garden.
This article appears in the March 2022 issue of Washingtonian.