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Mike Isabella has already opened five restaurants in about two years (one of which he’s split ties with). But he’s not stopping there: The chef announced today that he plans to open Kapnos Taverna, a spinoff of his Greek-inspired restaurant Kapnos, in Ballston next summer.
Kapnos Taverna, located at 4000 Wilson Blvd. in Arlington, will include some dishes from Kapnos, but it will also have weekday lunch, brunch, and a happy-hour menu. It will have one rotating spit, instead of two, as well as 10 cocktails on tap and more than 200 bottles of wine (more than any of Isabella’s other restaurants.) The 185-seat restaurant will include a 40-seat outdoor patio.
In a press release, Isabella says guests have been asking him to build a restaurant in Virginia or Maryland since his Italian Chinatown restaurant Graffiato opened in 2011. “Kapnos has been wildly popular in its first few months, and we think this sister concept will be a great addition to the booming neighborhoods in Arlington,” he said.
Y&H previously asked Isabella why he’s opening so many restaurants so fast. He pointed to his mentors and former bosses Stephen Starr and José Andrés, who have double-digit restaurant counts.
“I enjoy it, but I also sometimes don’t enjoy it,” Isabella said about opening new restaurants. “It’s fun to do, but it’s a lot of work. It definitely gives you a lot of gray hairs. I have ’em on my beard. I have ’em on my head. That’s what it does to you. It definitely takes 10 years off your life.”
Photo by Jessica Sidman