The 10 Hottest DC Restaurant Openings in 2015 So Far
2015 is shaping up to be a banner year for the DC restaurant industry, with gobs of openings. Most encouraging has been the incredibly local feel to it all: chefs who live and work in DC are opening up their own restaurants, keeping all the money and prestige in the District. Here are 10 of the latest openings you should know about.
Provision No. 14
Location: 2100 14th St NW
Open since: April 29
Cuisine: Small plates, eclectic roots
Specialty: Roasted suckling pig leg
The Victorian décor on the inside of 14th Street’s buzziest new restaurant belies the very modern fare served up by executive chef James Duke and chef de cuisine John Leavitt. The “pata” pig leg is the highlight, but don’t overlook “Hens in a Blanket,” which is a pheasant sausage, robiola (a soft Italian cheese) and blueberry mustard, or the miso lamb ribs. Be sure to make a reservation for a big group so you can try as many dishes as possible.
The Italian Store
Location: 5837 Washington Blvd, Arlington
Open since: May 19
Specialty: Pizza, Italian subs, gelato
Arlingtonians have been clamoring for years—literally—for this store to open. Announced in 2013, construction and utility delays pushed back the “Italian Store on steroids” in quaint Westover until this spring, but it was worth the wait. The second location of the Lyon Village staple has a bigger grocery space for imported Italian goodies, authentic Italian sandwiches and pizza, plus an Illy espresso bar and a gelato station. An outdoor patio and uncorking fee allows patrons to drink the imported bottle of wine they just bought while still on premises.
A Baked Joint
Location: 440 K St NW
Open since: June 15
Cuisine: Baked goods and sandwiches
Specialty: Homemade breads
The Georgetown coffee shop and bakery Baked and Wired has lines out the door during the day and developed an overnight cult following. The owners’ second project is bigger, with 90 seats, and has gourmet sandwiches and booze. Glorious booze. “A Baked Joint” is a temporary name until the owners can think of one they like, but if it draws customers at the same rate as the original, the placeholder just might stick.
Location: The Village at Leesburg
Open since: June 2
Specialty: Smoked meats, live music
Everything is bigger in Texas, and, apparently, Loudoun County. Smokehouse Live is 16k SF, the biggest barbecue joint in the region, and uses its space to serve up classic smoked meats like brisket, ribs and pulled pork. The giant smoker in the back can handle more than a ton of meat (literally) and Sundays are for an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet for less than $20.
Location: 600 13th St NW
Open since: May 8
This 14k SF steakhouse is the first Mastro’s in DC, and it lives up to the hype in a restaurant scene that for years has been defined by the power steak dinner. As Bisnow wrote when Mastro’s opened, the cheapest thing on the menu is shoestring fries for $13. That kind of sticker shock pales at the luxuriousness of some of the menu items: sushi topped with black truffle and lobster mashed potatoes that include a whole lobster in Old Bay butter sauce.
Location: 20A Maryland Ave, Rockville; 2503-E North Harrison St, Arlington
Open since: March
Specialty: Numbing “ma la” peppers
Peter Chang is a former Chinese embassy chef whose mercurial, nomadic nature has led him from kitchen to kitchen around NoVa, with a cult following finding him at each new spot. Recently, he finally put down roots and started opening up his own restaurants like gangbusters. He now has two in the DC area, and both serve large menus with traditional Sichuan dishes at different level of spice. Chang-heads rejoiced at an opportunity to eat his food again, and you will too.
Location: 1351 H St NE
Open since: April 10
Specialty: Combination retail, coffee shop and restaurant
From the mind of Toki Underground chef Eric Bruner-Yang, Maketto is as diverse as any space in the region. With three floors, an open courtyard, a retail shop, coffee bar, restaurant and even a weird and wonderful vending machine, Maketto has everything you could imagine and more. And that’s good, because the H Street location took years to build. Bruner-Yang told Eater when it opened, “if it took this damn long, it better be good.”
Location: 22nd and I streets NW
Open since: March 20
Cuisine: Fast-casual vegetarian
Specialty: It’s José Andres, dummy
DC’s restaurateur-in-chief José Andres opened up his first fast-casual concept this spring in Foggy Bottom. Beefsteak is, ironically, all about the veggies, with non-meat proteins like tofu, egg and quinoa to satisfy and satiate. There are no small plates to be had, because with a bevy of options, the bowls one orders get really big, really fast. And, unlike Andres’ other restaurants, the price tag is typically under $10 for a bowl.
Location: 929 H St NW
Open since: Jan. 15
Specialty: Lobster pad thai
Richard Sandoval, another DC restaurant luminary with eateries like Masa 14 and El Centro D.F., partnered in the first American location of the international Mango Tree brand. It’s been open in CityCenterDC since January, and since DC is a shell of itself in the summer, there’s no better time to get a reservation. If you’re daring, remember to ask for dishes “Thai hot,” but keep lots of rice and water close.
Location: 2609 24th St NW
Open since: April 28
Specialty: “Pittsburghese” sausage, homemade doughnuts
Longtime fans of Clarendon staples Liberty Tavern, Northside Social and Lyon Hall recognize the name of this bar from its owner, chef Liam LaCivita, who left the trifecta of Arlington spots to stake out his own turf. His Woodley Park haunt is essentially a projection of his heritage, with Italian-inspired dishes with grounding in modern American cuisine, perfect for the Pittsburgh-bred chef.