Huge Chain Smashburger Returns to D.C. With a New Shop in Chinatown
Smashburger, the fast-casual cheeseburger brand from Denver that boasts hundreds of locations across the U.S. and Canada, is taking another stab at D.C. After a short-lived stint in Dupont Circle that ended in 2014, the chain is returning to the District with a new location (804 Seventh Street NW) that opens across the street from the Chinatown Metro station on Wednesday, July 28. For the first two days, customers can get a $5 combo of a classic burger and fries for $5. The Chinatown location will also offer free delivery through Monday, August 8. The menu also includes fried and grilled chicken sandwiches, turkey burgers, black bean burgers, salads, and Häagen-Dazs milkshakes. Breakfast sandwiches bring another morning meal option for a neighborhood that just snagged a location of Baker’s Daughter, the casual cafe from Michelin star chef Matt Baker that sells breakfast tacos, pastries, and ham, egg, and cheese sandwiches.
In other news …
Contemporary French newcomer La Bise, restaurateur Ashok Bajaj’s replacement for the Oval Room downtown, has been open for a month and already has a favorable review from Washington Post critic Tom Sietsema. [WaPo]
On Saturday, July 24, the Ballston district of Arlington, Virginia, is hosting Bands and Brews on the Boulevard. The free event will host six bands on Wilson Boulevard and includes a 200-foot “street pub” with ticket bundles for beer, wine, and cocktails.
Logan Circle just got an Amazon Fresh grocery store (1733 14th Street NW) equipped with “Just Walk Out” technology. Customers scan a QR code through the Amazon app when they enter the store, and it will automatically charge them for anything they put in their cart before exiting the store.
Washingtonian reports the partners behind Bun’d Up in Arlington are opening an adjacent cocktail bar called the Sparrow Room that will serve dim sum dinners and host mahjong. [W]
The owner of Leesburg’s new bubble tea shop has some impressive chops, Northern Virginia Magazine reports, including experience working for José Andrés, Michelin-starred Cosme in New York City, and renowned Pujol in Mexico City. [NVM]
10 New Restaurants to Try for DC Summer Restaurant Week
Summer Restaurant Week returns on Monday, August 9 through Sunday, August 15. The promotion, which includes 200-plus restaurants in the greater DC area, is moving out of its pandemic focus on carryout—though you’ll still find some family-style takeout meals and cocktails to-go. Participating restaurants will offer dinner menus for $35 and/or $55 per-person, as well as $22 lunches and brunches. Here are 10 new restaurants—and Restaurant Week newcomers—to try.
1320 19th St., NW
Ala, the Turkish word representing a mix of colors, stays true to its name with a colorful mix of ingredients. The Levantine restaurant will serve $35 and $55 menus during Restaurant Week, offering delivery, takeout, indoor, and outdoor dining. Brunch, dinner
1201 Half St., SE
This 1920s glam diner outside of Nationals Park typically offers upscale riffs on classics like meatloaf and chicken pot pie—plus some unique vegan options. For Restaurant Week, they’re offering a $35 set menu and the entire table must participate. Brunch, dinner
1921 8th St., NW
Head to this Korean tabletop barbecue in Shaw for all-you-can-eat dinner menus ($35 and $55), plus dishes like bibimbap and japchae noodles at lunch. The specials, which include a paired wine or cocktail, are only available for dine-in. Lunch, dinner
1825 14th St., NW
This Mediterranean restaurant is celebrating its one year anniversary in August, but it’s brand new to Restaurant Week. The $55 restaurant menu includes various tapas and small plates with flavors from from Spain, Greece, Lebanon, Morocco, and Israel, all paired with wine or a cocktail. Enjoy the meal indoors, on a huge rooftop patio, or at home with takeout. Dinner
800 Connecticut Ave., NW
Restaurateur Ashok Bajaj’s replacement for the Oval Room just debuted near the White House. Try the chic, modern French brasserie for dinner, where patrons can pick an appetizer, main course, and dessert for a three-course meal ($55 per person). All entrees, including dishes like seared duck breast or king salmon coulibiac, can be paired with wine or a cocktail. Takeout and outdoor dining will be available in addition to indoor. Dinner
1647 20th St., NW
This upscale Tex-Mex restaurant just debuted in Dupont Circle with sizzling fajitas, enchiladas, and more. Try a selection from the $35 menu on the large patio, indoors, or for takeout. Brunch, dinner
2321 18th St., NW
Chef Darren Norris’s Japanese restaurant in Adams Morgan will offer a $22 lunch menu that includes a salmon-avocado roll to start, followed by homemade noodle bowls and mochi ice cream. For dinner, they’ll offer $35 and $55 dinner menus that include a sushi roll and a dish from their charcoal grill. Delivery, outdoor dining, and takeout will be available. Pair your meal with wine or a cocktail from their second floor bar, Death Punch. Lunch, dinner
924 U St., NW
Hop on the birria taco trend at this U Street taqueria, which offers a Mexican street food Restaurant Week menu for $35 and $55. The packages are only available to go, and delivery will be available. Dinner
700 K. St., NW
This swanky seafood chain’s $55 Restaurant Week menu features options like Hawaiian ahi tuna and lobster bisque. The three-course meal is available for dine-in only. Dinner
4238 Wilson Blvd, 22203
Arlington’s new restaurant, wine bar, and art gallery is equally eclectic in its flavors. Guests can choose between a $35 menu for two, or a $55 per person option. Plates include a charcuterie and cheese selection along with tapas and dessert. Highlights from the $55 menu include scallop aguachile and prime beef sliders. Dinner
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18 Restaurant Openings to Watch This Week
This post originally appeared on June 26, 2021 in Amanda Kludt’s newsletter “From the Editor,” a roundup of the most vital news and stories in the food world each week. Read the archives and subscribe now.
Just as June has been a busy month for reopening and reuniting across America, it’s been a busy month at Eater for major features and projects. So before we get into the news and openings below, I want to draw your attention to some special pieces we’ve published this month:
— First, our return to travel. We’ve been publishing updated guides and maps in our local Eater cities throughout the pandemic, but we took some time this spring to update over 100 maps across North America. Now you’ll have updated guidance for you wherever you’re going this summer.
— Over in the Pacific Northwest, we published a whole slew of stories exploring coffee culture in the region, offering guides, features, interviews, and more.
— A little further south in California, Bill Esparza has a four-part exploration of the state’s barbacoa trail. Based on 15 years of dining around the state and two months of intensive research, his feature explores stylistic differences in the region and uncovers an artist who executes “what might be the clearest, most comprehensive expression of ancestral barbacoa in the United States.”
— Finally, we just launched a podcast this week with our friends over at technology site Recode. It’s a food delivery-focused mini-series of their hit podcast Land of the Giants. Over four episodes, we track the impact of third-party apps like DoorDash, UberEats, and Grubhub have on consumers, restaurant owners, the industry as a whole, and delivery drivers. Stick around for episode four, where I co-host and get to talk about my current obsession, virtual chain concepts. We’ll also host a panel with characters from the series today at 1 pm EST.
As one would expect given the state of vaccinations and reopenings in the U.S. (plus pent up demand), it’s been a big month for openings:
— In Vegas, we have the long-awaited Resorts World, the first brand new resort to open on the strip since the Cosmopolitan in 2010. It’s also a resort that’s notably eschewing in-room dining in the hotel and instead telling guests to order from the 40 restaurants downstairs via Grubhub. Meanwhile, the Wynn is about to open a lavish “supper club” and LA import Delilah.
— Los Angeles finally gets to try the latest restaurant from République’s Margarita and Walter Manzke, a french spot called Bicyclette Bistro.
— New York got a Bushwick location of cultishly loved natural wine bar Ten Belles, a fun bar in Williamsburg called Thief, a massive steakhouse in a big waterfront FiDi development from Andrew Carmellini called Carne Mare, a nostalgic Upper West Side diner Old John’s, and the newest addition to Roosevelt Island’s first hotel, Anything At All.
— Major Food Group’s glam rooftop restaurant Contessa and “New American meets new Korean” restaurant Cloud & Spirits opened in Boston and Cambridge, respectively.
— Elsewhere, we’ve got a new location of New York’s Lure in Chicago, a location of London’s Sexy Fish in Miami, and a location of NY/DC bakery Mah-Ze-Dahr in Virginia; two attempts at Chinese-Latin fusions opened in Philly and Miami; D.C. power dining spot the Oval Room flipped to a French-themed La Bise; Greenville has a new destination spot in Camp; and the very exciting revival of the historic Empress of China banquet hall, Empress By Boon, opened in San Francisco.
News & More
— The restaurant revitalization fund stopped prioritizing disadvantaged groups after two lawsuits (filed by white men who actually did get the funding) claimed the SBA was being discriminatory.
— Edouardo Jordan’s entire staff at Salare and JuneBaby quit after the Seattle Times published an exposé detailing multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against the chef.
— New York joined Pennsylvania in pulling back on to-go wine and alcohol sales for restaurants with pretty much zero notice. Restaurateurs found themselves suddenly sitting on thousands of dollars of inventory they couldn’t possibly sell in time.
— You could watch the documentary about Wolfgang Puck but you’d be better off spending a fraction of the time watching this beautiful profile of a tuna and seafood dealer in New Jersey.
— Charcuterie board businesses are a thing in Detroit.
— Houston’s getting a new, inclusive, progressive food festival this summer.
— Nancy Silverton is expanding to London just as Daniel Boulud retreats. (Also her ex, the influential chef Mark Peel, died this month after a bout with cancer.)
— Sonic and Dunkin’ launched their weirdly fruity and colorful takes on boba drinks.