Get ready for burgers, cubanos, a taste of New England, affordable tipples, and more Filipino food because 2017 promises to deliver big on restaurant and bar openings. These are the 12 that have us salivating the most.
3210 Grace St. NW (summer)
Chef Johnny Spero’s dreamy Georgetown restaurant Reverie will do the impossible: combine avant-garde and affordable by offering both an a la carte menu with dishes topping out at $30 and a small, affordable tasting menu. Both will showcase the chef’s style of taking nature’s best ingredients and twisting them just enough to be fun and unfamiliar. At a December pop-up, a bowl of whey granita melted to reveal tongues of uni punched up with dill and lovage. Spero’s résumé includes stops at minibar, Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Mugaritz in San Sebastian, Spain.
The Salt Line
79 Potomac Ave. SE (late spring)
Capitol Riverfront will get two restaurants in one with the opening of Chef Kyle Bailey’s The Salt Line: an outdoor bar for slamming Narragansett beers before Nationals games and a dining room where Bailey will celebrate the best of New England and the Chesapeake. Expect lobster rolls and freshly shucked oysters, because restaurant group Long Shot Hospitality visited Portland, Maine’s beloved Eventide Oyster Co. for inspiration. Also look forward to fried clams, Portuguese seafood stew, and seafood charcuterie. Considered an alehouse, The Salt Line will have a solid lineup of brews.
Kaliwa, The Orient
751 Wharf St. SW (September)
The D.C. area got its first hit of Chef Cathal Armstrong’s Filipino and Thai cooking at Restaurant Eve, where he rolled out a special tasting menu that flared nostrils with heat and tang. Now he’s bringing The Wharf a full-on Asian restaurant showcasing Filipino, Korean, and Thai food. Armstrong is left-handed, hence the name “Kaliwa,” which means “the left” in Tagalog. It has a slightly sinister connotation, so expect this typically buttoned-up chef to let loose. Look forward to both indoor and riverfront dining. Armstrong’s libations partner Todd Thrasher is also making his D.C. debut at The Wharf with Potomac Distilling Co. and rooftop bar, Tiki TNT.
1401 Okie St. NE (late spring)
Chef Matt Baker’s first solo restaurant, Gravitas, is headed into the Pappas Tomato Factory in Ivy City. Baker, who has worked at minibar, Marcel’s, and Occidental, will showcase an ingredient-driven restaurant that treats vegetables as equals, not just sides. He’ll offer a five-course chef’s tasting menu, a five-course vegetarian tasting menu, and an a la carte menu at the bar. Sample dishes from pop-ups include burnt acorn squash with cocoa nib, pomegranate, and vanilla and salt-baked Japanese eggplant with preserved lemon “tabbouleh,” garlic yogurt, and curry vinaigrette.
901 Massachusetts Ave. NW (February)
Fresh off a trip to the Iberian Peninsula that culminated in a camel ride, restaurateur Mike Isabella and his partners George and Nick Pagonis are readying to open a 246-seat Spanish restaurant in the Marriott Marquis. With flavors inspired by southern Spain, Portugal, and North Africa, they’ll prove a hotel restaurant doesn’t have to phone it in. Think paella from Valencia, tagine from Morocco, and bastilla from Tangier. Pair everything with sherry, port, gin, and Spanish-made tonics.
922 N St. Rear NW (January)
When Hong Kong-inspired restaurant Tiger Fork opens in Blagden Alley it will accomplish the unthinkable because beverage director Ian Fletcher will shake and stir cocktails that are actually good for you. The detoxing drinks that draw from Chinese medicine play well with the restaurant’s indulgent dishes like Char Siu-style roasted goose, a mapo tofu riff containing Maine lobster, cumin-spiced lamb tartare, dim sum, and brisket noodle soup. Owner Greg Algie and Chef Nathan Beauchamp, who are also behind The Fainting Goat, traveled to Hong Kong for research and development.
1405 T St. NW (Jan. 26)
It especially stung when Sophie’s Cuban Cuisine closed this year because it left the District without proper cubano sandwiches. Enter Colada Shop, opening in the 14th Street Corridor, which will bring back the satisfying pressed sandwiches, plus croquetas, pastelitos, coffee, and cocktails from masterful beverage man Juan Coronado, who earned his chops at José Andrés restaurants. Consider it a casual neighborhood café, only with cool cocktails like a negroni made with peanut-infused gin. Craving a preview? Colada Shop is already open in Sterling, Virginia.
The LINE DC
1770 Euclid St. NW (March)
Two culinary powerhouses will open restaurants under one roof at The LINE DC hotel coming to Adams Morgan. James Beard winner Spike Gjerde of Baltimore’s Woodberry Kitchen will debut A Rake’s Progress focused on local sourcing and game meat. Gjerde will also operate A Rake’s Bar and coffee shop The Cup We All Race 4. Joining Gjerde is Maketto’s Erik Bruner-Yang, who has two restaurants planned: Brothers and Sisters, featuring global cuisine, and a tasting menu restaurant called Spoken English.
1337 H Street NE (January)
Claudia’s Steakhouse has a $125 martini. Left Door has a $100 French 75. The Next Whisky Bar has a $900 drink. Enter cousins Nick and David Wiseman of DGS Delicatessen and Whaley’s, who are ready to pour the antidote to this insanity at Hill Prince, where all drinks will be $10 or less. The neighborhood bar named after a 1950 Preakness Stakes winner will have an intimate front bar opening in January and, in the spring, an outdoor central courtyard and large back bar in a restored carriage house. Think date night.
Red Apron Burger Bar
1323 Connecticut Ave. NW (January)
It was a blow when the GBD fryers powered down, but Neighborhood Restaurant Group is replacing the fried chicken and doughnut shop with Red Apron Burger Bar. Chef Nate Anda of Red Apron Butcher has committed to sourcing the meat for his patties strictly from Virginia farmers who follow sustainable practices; he’ll even use the dry-aged suet (beef fat) to make the restaurant’s French fries. Beer director Greg Engert has built a hop-forward beer list for the Dupont Circle burger joint that seeks to pull premium restaurant quality products into the fast bites market.
2412 18th St. NW (mid-year)
Trevor Frye is gearing up to open two bars in 2017—Five to One and Marble Alley. The latter will double as a deli serving unfussy sandwiches, beer, wine, and cocktails daily on the first floor. In the basement, Frye and his team will mix historically inspired cocktails Tuesday through Saturday. Obsessed with the hospitality aspect of bartending, Frye says his cocktails will be 70 percent about what’s in the glass and 30 percent about the experience. The Adams Morgan bar is named after an enclave of bars and brothels within the Murder Bay slum that in the mid-19th century occupied the area where the Federal Triangle sits today.
900 16th St. NW (winter)
Chef Frank Ruta and pastry Chef Aggie Chin are an inseparable culinary one-two punch, having worked together at Palena and, more recently, The Grill Room. It makes sense that they’ll team up again at Mirabelle from restaurateur Hakan Ilhan. The French-American restaurant going in downtown will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Here’s hoping Ruta’s roast chicken and burger reappear.
Also coming next year:
A Navy Yard location of All Purpose (79 Potomac Ave. SE., summer); a Navy Yard location of Slipstream (82 I St. SE, spring); a Palisades location ofLupo Verde (4814 MacArthur Blvd. NW, February); a Foggy Bottom location of Bindaas (2000 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, October); a downtown location of SUCCOTASH (915 F St. NW, June); Turkish pizza place Pidzza (2000 Hecht Ave. NE, January); Del Mar from Fabio and Maria Trabocchi (The Wharf, late 2017); a Wharf location of Hank’s Oyster Bar (The Wharf, fall); Nantucket import Millie’s Spring Valley (4866 Massachusetts Ave. NW, early 2017); Honeysuckle from Chef Hamilton Johnson (1990 M St. NW, early 2017); Maryland-themed bar Free State (501 G St. NW basement level, early 2017); Manhattan import, The Smith (901 F St. NW, January); and more.