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January 3, 2011 
Ten Restaurants to
Watch in 2012

We hope your New Year's resolution is to eat out more because there's a ton of new dining options on the way. We take a look at some of the top restaurants on our radar from tapas spots to ramen shops to a 24-hour diner.
Mike Isabella

3241 M St., NW
Estimated opening: Early 2012

Following the success of Graffiato, chef Mike Isabella is already on to restaurant #2. His forthcoming modern Mexican spot will serve small plates, including a frequently-changing selection of ceviches, tacos, and "carbons" (Mike's take on fajitas). The space, formerly occupied by Hook in Georgetown, will have a "Day of the Dead" theme incorporating cemetary gates, tequila crates, and mismatched furniture.

1837 M St., NW
Estimated opening: Late February

The trend of New York restaurateurs heading to DC does not appear to be letting up. Spanish tapas bar and restaurant Boqueria is one of the Big Apple transplants coming early this year. Named after Barcelona's famed market El Mercado de la Boqueria, the Dupont Circle locale will feature classic Spanish tapas plus raciones (larger composed dishes). Owner Yann de Rochefort is a Georgetown alum and got his first job after college at a consulting firm within a block of his soon-to-open restaurant.

Katsuya Fukushima
705 6th St., NW
Estimated opening: Summer

We predict ramen will be all the rage in 2012. First there was Toki Underground, and now there's Daikaya, a Japanese noodle joint heading to Chinatown. The two-level restaurant which will serve made-to-order ramen downstairs and host an izakaya (a Japanese pub with snacks) upstairs. The concept comes from Sushiko co-owner Daisuke Utagawa and Eighteenth Street Lounge co-founder Yama Jewayni. Former Minibar chef Katsuya Fukushima (above), also a co-owner in the venture, will man the kitchen.

Nick Wisemand and Barry Koslow
DGS Delicatessen
1317 Connecticut Ave., NW
Estimated opening: Late spring/early summer

Yes, it's true, DC is finally getting a gourmet Jewish deli. Former Tallula chef Barry Koslow (right) plans to make everything from scratch—from the pastrami to the pickles. We caught him with co-owner Nick Wiseman (left) of Roadside Food Projects, who's long been looking to fill this empty dining niche in DC. Their all-star team also includes former Marvelous Market and The BreadLine owner Mark Furstenberg, who will provide the breads and bagels, and acclaimed Jewish cookbook author Joan Nathan, who is consulting. As Barry told us recently, "It's not just a steak and potato town anymore. It will be a pastrami and latke town."

The Pig
The Pig
1320 14th St., NW
Estimated opening: Early spring

This "nose-to-tail" pork-centric place is the fifth restaurant from Eatwell DC, the group behind Logan Tavern, Grillfish, Commissary, and The Heights. The 72 seat, 15 bar stool Logan Circle spot aims to evoke the feeling of an old abattoir. Chef de cuisine Billy McCormick, mostly recently at Lincoln restaurant, will use ingredients from Eatwell DC's farm in La Plata, MD as well as pork producers in Woodsboro, MD.

Bryan Voltaggio
East Street Diner
880 N. East St., Frederick, MD
Estimated opening: April

Last year was a pretty good year for Bryan Voltaggio. He came out with a cookbook, opened a new cafe called LunchBox, and even helped create his own Flying Dog beer (with his likeness on the bottle). But 2012 is shaping up to be even better for the former Top Chef contestant. Bryan's next project is East Street Diner, a classic American diner located in a former Nissan dealership that will feature his take on dishes like meatloaf, fried chicken, and pancakes. Bryan is also planning a meat-focused bistro in Chevy Chase called Range later in the year.

Rasika West End
Rasika West End
1177 22nd St., NW
Estimated opening: First week of March

Getting a reservation at Rasika will become slightly easier when the popular high-end Indian restaurant opens a second location in the West End. The new 5,900 sq. ft. space located in a luxe-condo building will seat 140 and include three private dining rooms. Like its Penn Quarter counterpart, it will also be overseen by chef Vikram Sunderam.

Society Fair
Society Fair
277 S. Washington St., Alexandria, VA
Estimated opening: January

Chef and restaurateur Cathal Armstrong is busy expanding his empire, which already includes Restaurant Eve, The Majestic, Eamonn's, and most recently-opened Virtue Feed & Grain. His newest project, Society Fair, is a 7,000 sq. ft. market with bakery, butcher, wine bar, and 12-seat studio kitchen. As if that weren't enough, Cathal is also working on a second Eamonn's with a "rock-and-roll bar" serving craft cocktails called TNT on Columbia Pike in Arlington.

Unnamed in Columbia Heights
3415 11th St., NW
Estimated opening: Early spring

Constantine Stavropoulos, the guy behind Tryst, Open City, and The Diner, plans to open a new place in Columbia Heights that combines aspects of all three. The coffeehouse/diner/bar will be open 24 hours (trend alert!) and evolve throughout the day. Unlike his other spots, Constantine tells us his yet-unnamed restaurant will have a distinct bar area with separate entrance and focus more on craft cocktails and wines, including some on tap.

Robert Wiedmaier and Brian McBride

Unnamed restaurant from Robert Wiedmaier and Brian McBride

Location unknown
Estimated opening: Late 2012

Two of the region's top chefs—Robert Wiedmaier and Brian McBride—are joining forces to open a restaurant together later this year. Brian left his post at Blue Duck Tavern in November to pursue the project with his friend of over 20 years. The duo does not yet have a name, location, or specifics on the cuisine, but you can be sure it will showcase local ingredients and their slow-cooking techniques.

What restaurants are you looking forward to in 2012? E-mail Dining Editor Jessica Sidmandining@bisnow.com. You can also catch us on Facebook and Twitter!

Want to advertise in or partner with Dining Bisnow? E-mail Stephen Ballstephen@bisnow.com.

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