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Neighborhood Eats: Restaurant Renovations Galore, Wagamama Tries Again

by Rebecca Cooper

Last week, we told you about a slew of restaurant openings, including the much-anticipated BONMi, which opened Monday serving Vietnamese sandwiches, lettuce wraps, and noodle/rice bowls. This week, our restaurant highlights are far less, well, concrete.

Closing…temporarily: We already mentioned that Harry’s Tap Room in Clarendon will shut its doors to renovate and become Market Tavern, and now it seems that a couple of other suburban standbys are taking a break as well. Neighborhood Restaurant Group confirmed last week that Evening Star Cafe on Mount Vernon Avenue in Alexandria (map), will close for renovations in early November. It’s expected to reopen later in the month.

Ray’s the Steaks East River has a sign up saying it is closing for “reformatting” to make improvements suggested by the community. The sign predicts a January 2012 reopening at the 3905 Dix St. NE spot, but the wording sounds an awful lot like a goodbye letter -- telling the neighborhood it has been an “honor” to serve them -- and Ray’s owner Michael Landrum had no comment for The Washington Post’s Tim Carman.

Neighborhood Eats: Restaurant Renovations Galore, Wagamama Tries Again: Figure 2
Rendering of outside seating at Jaleo.

Lastly, José Andrés’ nearly two-decades-old Jaleo location at 480 7th St. NW will close for a couple of weeks sometime this winter for a renovation. The new design is expected to bring in a more modern design with bright colors, a foosball table, and some pretty neat sidewalk seating that separates and shade diners (see rendering above).

Closed: The cupcake window at Capitol Hill Bakery at 411 18th St. NE is no more, reports Frozen Tropics. The bakery had trouble with slow retail traffic on the strip near RFK Stadium, but will continue to use the space as a commercial bakery. They are planning to take orders that can be filled on 24 hours notice, however, and they’re looking into a food truck to bring the cupcakes to the rest of the DC area.

Opening…eventually: U.K.-based noodle shop Wagamama swears it’s for real this time when it tells the Washington Business Journal it will open in DC in the spring of 2012. The British cult favorite has had several fits and starts in DC, originally saying it would open in May 2010 at 418 7th St. NW. If it comes this time, Wagamama will join several other fast-casual Asian concepts and ramen shops that have opened in recent months.

The new Mexican restaurant from restaurateur Jackie Greenbaum is under construction in Columbia Heights and should open in “a couple of months,” according to the owner. The proprietor of Jackie’s, Sidebar, and Quarry House in Silver Spring is aiming for a casual, fun Mexican place at 11th and Lamont Streets NW with $5 margaritas and authentic Mexican dishes and street food, according to New Columbia Heights.

Open: The restaurant in the Capital Hilton at 1001 16th St. NW is now known as North Gate Grille, according to a press release from the hotel. Formerly Twigs, North Gate, named after its proximity to the North Gate of the White House, will serve a classic American breakfast and lunch with “a modern twist.” Revamped menu items include steak frites with Parmesan truffle fries, and artichoke and mushroom ravioli with three types of mushrooms and a sage-brown butter sauce. The restaurant is also planning to begin serving dinner in the coming months.

Events: If you’re excited that it’s apple season -- and therefore hard cider season -- Pizzeria Paradiso has you covered at all three of its locations this week. The beer and pizza joint will feature an apple-tastic price fixed menu all week for $25, which includes salad, pizza, and two choices from the restaurant’s special apple-y drinks menu.

Although it’s a little more than a week away, now is also the time to jump on one of the few remaining tickets for Dishcrawl DC -- a new progressive bar/restaurant hop that is launching with a tour of Penn Quarter on Nov. 8. Other cities that have jumped on the bandwagon include Portland, Seattle, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Montreal. The night will run you $39, which covers drinks, but unfortunately, not food.


Rebecca Cooper is a freelance journalist and avid eater that has contributed to TBD, DCist, and Washingtonian. If you have any tips about restaurant or bars openings or closings, email Rebecca at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/neighborhood_eats_restaurant_renovations_galore_wagamama_tries_again/4455

1 Comment

  1. Jason said at 2:23 pm on Friday October 28, 2011:
    This is a great series, please keep it up, if I can go to UT for real estate AND restaurant news, then I will be a happy man. Also thank goodness for outside seating at Jeleo, I preferred the Bethesda location for that reason.

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