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A preview of what is to come: Fall DC area restaurant openings.

Just as last year around this time, we had a ton of new restaurant openings. This year is no different according to this long listing; however,  this year’s Fall dining forecast includes a few spin-offs, a slew of New York imports. Which new restaurant opening are you most excited about?

Tiled walls at Arlington Rooftop. Photos by Design Strategies.

Arlington Rooftop Bar & Grill: American fare with affordable prices in a contemporary setting and of course, a rooftop deck will be the draw at this latest gathering spot in trendy Clarendon, opening possibly this month. Inside there will be high ceilings, beautifully tiled walls in leather with penny round accents (see design photos), wooden stairs, The restaurant is being built atop the current Dehli Dhaba and Subway restaurants at 2424 Wilson Blvd.

Casa Nonna: The BLT Restaurant Group based in the ‘Big Apple’ is expanding their brand and opening a family-style Italian restaurant, Casa Nonna in Dupont Circle (1250 Connecticut Ave. NW). Casa Nonna, the name for the 190-seat establishment (“House of the Grandmother” in English) will join BLT Steak downtown and the forthcoming BLT Burger (at 1317 Connecticut Ave. NW), which is also opening this spring. According to the twitter feed, the restaurant will be officially open for business this coming Wednesday, September 15. They are accepting telephone reservations at (202) 629-2505. (1250 Connecticut Ave. NW).

Cuba Libre Old Havana Restaurant & Rum Bar: The menu showcasing the flavors of various Latin regions featuring piqueos, or small tasting plates, ideal for experiencing a multitude of delicious flavor combinations was specifically developed for Washington by Chef-Partner Guillermo Pernot with Executive Chef Jason Kaufman to oversee the day-to-day operations of the kitchen. The decor will highlight the pre-Castro bygone era in an energetic atmosphere distinguished by authentic Cuban architecture. Diners will enter onto a piazza that looks straight out of Old Havana with ornate carved wood, stone and wrought-iron balconies, along with yellow stucco walls and elaborate house fronts replicated from vintage photographs. Old-fashioned street lamps will illuminate the handsome bar, high-tops and tables, where diners will enjoy Nuevo Latino fare and trendy cocktails. On weekends, around 10–11 PM, the tables will be moved back for dancing (801 Ninth St. NW, 202-408-1600). Stay tuned for a sneak peek coming in 2 weeks. Cube Libre is slated to open September 17th 27th.

DC-3: Opening sometime this fall, DC-3 will join pizzeria bistro Matchbox and Ted’s Bulletin, an upscale diner concept, in the Barracks Row section of Capitol Hill. Combating the recent burger craze in DC,  the menu will feature gourmet hot dogs from around the region, such as a Cincinnati chili dog, Chicago dog, NY dirty water dog, and will cost about $6 with a side order. The vintage aircraft–themed space is tiny and seats just 20 and will showcase an actual DC-3 propeller and a wing for a sign (423 Eighth St. SE.).

Photo courtesy of Prince of Petworth

GO Burger: In addition to Casa Nonna, BLT Restaurant Group has another newcomer coming to Dupont Circle — this time a  hamburger joint (patterned after NYC’s  BLT Burger) and will be serving up trendy milkshakes, classic patties, and dogs.  This section of Connecticut Avenue has been dubbed “Red Meat Row” by Metrocurean (see her nifty graphic) due to the competition. Several other burger spots, including the Big Apple’s, Shake Shack, which is slated to open early next year, just a few steps away (1317 Connecticut Ave. NW). (So sad! I loved Salad Mio! Photo courtesy of Prince of Petworth)

Michel: World renown chef/restaurateur Michel Richard will launch his third DC area restaurant in about 5 weeks, according to Mel Davis.  Richard describes his latest project as being in between Central and the upscale Georgetown dining room, Citronelle. This casually elegant new French-American bistro will serve boeuf bourguignon and coq au vin in the former Tysons Corner Ritz-Carlton’s Maestro space, redone in burgundy and silver gray, with a whimsical light fixture inspired by his signature plate sculpture. The opening is slated for late September or early October (1700 Tysons Boulevard, McLean VA; 703-506-4300).

Palena: The Cleveland Park premises of this popular Italian bistro are being expanded to include a new kitchen, a wood-fired oven and grill, and, best of all, more seats for its bargain-priced cafe/bistro menu; renovation should be completed by early October, with a market (in the old Magruder’s grocery store space) opening soon after (3529 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-537-9250).

Pizza Paradiso Alexandria: – Now that the DuPont Circle location is complete and up-and-running, Ruth Gresser has decided to cross the Potomac River and into Old Town (*gasp*). Pizza Paradiso will open another outpost in industrial modern quarters, in the former Discovery Store space.  The 3300 square foot space will be renovated and will provide plenty of space for its brew-focused offerings by late September/early October. Check out their slideshow of construction on Flickr (118 King St.).

P.J. Clarke’s, a New York icon is looking to take over the space formerly occupied by Todd English’s Olives at 16th and K St. NW. Washingtonian Mad Men fans will be the first to celebrate. The DC outpost will replicate its original menu and will serve its legendary burger, steak and raw bar. Diners can expect the familiar P.J. Clarke’s iconic design elements like a tin ceiling, wood floors, subway tiles on a weathered bar and red-and-white checkered cloths on the tables. Downstairs, Sidecar will be a spiffy gentlemen’s club with overstuffed leather banquettes and fancier American fare. They’re both slated for early October (1600 K St. NW).

Queen Vic: Named for a British soap opera, this Brit-themed gastropub by Owner Ryan Gordon (The Pug) plans on offering a traditional pub menu fare; however, using local DC area seasonal produce. The menu will include an English breakfast, which will be offered all day, meat pies (including eel and kidney), fish `n chips, and will feature British ales and ciders. For a little spice, Gordon will feature a special Indian-style curry-of-the day. Queen Vic is slated to open in an Atlas District townhouse in the early fall. (1206 H Street, NE).

Rustico: A Ballston location is in the works for this popular beer-centric restaurant which specialize in wood-fired oven cookery and will also offer outdoor seating with views of the bustling neighborhood. Steve Mannino will serve as the Executive Chef for both locations. And, for those of you with a sweet tooth, the Ballston offshoot will have a Buzz Bakery next door. Will Chef Josh Short all man the kitchen at the new Buzz? We’ll see! (4075 Wilson Blvd.).

Photo courtesy of Smith Commons blog

Smith Commons: Belgian Chef, Frederik de Pue formerly of the European Commission Delegation Ambassador will be at the helm of this new restaurant, which is slated to open early fall in the Atlas District. Smith Commons will offer a seasonally-inspired international menu of approachable cuisine for every palate. From Maine Lobster to Fish & Chips to Eggplant Lasagna. A wine director and beer sommelier will oversee a menu of 70 domestic and international wines and bottled beers, 12 craft beers on tap.  The three-story neighborhood bistro, which used to host a carpet warehouse, will feature a bar on each level, second and third floor patios, and loft space that overlooks the dining room below. Decor includes low lighting, high-back chairs, soft lounge furniture and a contemporary mix of finishes, textures and a variety of original artworks by local fine artists. Check out their blog about construction. I love the photos of the progress. (1245 H. St. NE).


3 Responses

  1. Any word when that Ballston Rustico will be opening?

    • Hi Jeff,
      I sent an email to Amber Pfau today asking for a firmer opening date and she replied, “We’re shooting for fall but we don’t have an exact date yet – sorry to be so vague; I wish we had more to give you!”
      Sorry Jeff. I’ll keep you updated!

  2. Great list! Thanks for the rundown. As a fellow foodie, I plan to go to most, if not all, of the places listed.

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