The 9 Most Anticipated Fall Openings in DC

By Rina Rapuano
August 18, 2014
By Rina Rapuano  |  August 18, 2014
Photo by: Daniel Swartz

The restaurants opening this fall clearly illustrate just how varied and exciting the DC dining scene is right now. In the pipeline, we've got everything from a casual grilled cheese spot to a Tex-Mex megachain to a José Andrés take on Peru's Chifa cuisine. Yet among the nationally known chefs investing in DC and the homegrown talent opening new ventures, themes that have emerged. Certainly, the CityCenter development is poised to infuse our city with many exciting new choices for dining, and Asian restaurants — Thai, in particular — continue to grow in numbers and popularity. Click through our slide show to see what else we think will be hot, hot, hot as the weather starts to cool.

  • Chuy’s
    11219 Lee Highway, Fairfax; Springfield Town Center

    The Gist: This Austin-based Tex-Mex chain is poised to make a big first impression in the area this fall with not one, but two openings nearly simultaneously. Texas transplants are pretty excited about the arrival of this cheeky chain that will feature an Elvis shrine and the Chuy's Special, a platter of housemade blue-corn tortillas topped with shredded roast chicken, cheese, tomatillo salsa and sour cream.  

    ETA: Fairfax: early September; Springfield: mid- to late October

  • China Chilcano
    418 Seventh St. NW

    The Gist: José Andrés brings his perspective on Chinese-Peruvian Chifa cuisine to his beloved Penn Quarter, serving up everything from Peruvian causas or ceviches to Chinese dim sum, as well as traditional dishes found across Peru that blend the two. The latest ThinkFoodGroup endeavor will likely also serve the chilcano, a cocktail traditionally made with pisco (naturally), lime, bitters and ginger ale — and there's a possibility of a guinea pig dish.

    ETA: Late November/early December

  • DBGB Kitchen and Bar
    931 H St. NW

    The Gist: Chef Daniel Boulud's team is keeping super-mum about this upcoming project — despite the fact that it's been widely reported that it will open just next month. But since there's already a New York location, we can extrapolate that it will be similar. And probably French. (You can at least browse the New York menus here.)

    ETA: September

  • Mama Rouge
    3000 K St. NW

    The Gist: Chef-owner Aulie Bunyarataphan and her husband Mel Oursinsiri announced in May that they would transform Bangkok Joe's, located on the upper-level promenade at Washington Harbour, into a bistro that serves both Southeast Asian and French dishes while paying homage to the chef's mother. The duo also owns Tom Yum District in Rosslyn and T.H.A.I. in Shirlington

    ETA: September 24 or later

  • Photo by: RSR

    Mango Tree
    825 10th St. NW

    The Gist: Yet another CityCenter restaurant, this one a Thai spot by restaurateur Richard Sandoval, an internationally renowned chef who seems to have a soft spot for DC. (He also owns Zengo, Ambar, Toro Toro, Masa 14, La Sandia and El Centro DF.) The menu will incorporate authentic flavors from the four corners of the country, ranging from mild to spicy, and include such dishes as larb pla tuna, a Northeastern-style tuna salad, and gaeng kiew wan gai, chicken in green curry.

    ETA: Fall (Sandoval's team declined to name a month)

  • Melt Shop
    1901 L St. NW

    The Gist: Restaurateur Spencer Rubin (named to the Zagat NYC Top 30 Under 30 this year) brings his winning grilled cheeses, shakes and tots concept to the area. This will be the mini-chain's first venture outside of New York City. And who cares that there's a similar concept,  GCDC, just a few blocks away? We're ready to test whether you actually can have too much of a good thing. 

    ETA: November

  • Pinea
    515 15th St. NW

    The Gist: While the loss of J&G Steakhouse and celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten came as a bit of a shock, the W Hotel DC has intrigued us by choosing well-known local chef Barry Koslow to head up the restaurant to take its place. The former DGS Delicatessen chef will employ the flavors of Spain, Italy and France with such dishes as whole grilled branzino, ham-wrapped figs and pissaladiere, a savory tart hailing from Southern France.

    ETA: September

  • Photo by: Scott Suchman

    963 Palmer Alley NW

    The Gist: Pastry chef Meredith Tomason, who honed her skills at such lauded New York spots as Tom Colicchio’s Craft, Tribeca Treats and Magnolia Bakery, adds something sweet to the CityCenter offerings. Her seasonally sweets include American heirloom cakes and ice creams in such flavors as cardamom/Meyer lemon and sour cream/sorghum.

    ETA: Mid-fall

  • Thip Khao
    Location not yet released

    The Gist: Washingtonians were abuzz when Bangkok Golden's chef-owner Seng Luangrath announced she would share her celebrated Laotian dishes with city folks who would rather not cross a bridge for dinner. But then she reined us in by telling us she's not ready to reveal the location or the opening date — and won't do so until the soft opening, which is soon. Perhaps all the mystery is adding to the excitement? One thing we do know: cocktails will come from Jack Caminos of The Sheppard fame.

    ETA: Fall


Places Mentioned


Mexican • Humble

Food22 Decor21 Service21 Cost$19

Mexican • Northwest Houston

Food22 Decor21 Service21 Cost$19

Mexican • Oak Hill

Food23 Decor22 Service22 Cost$21
Melt Shop

Sandwich Shop • East 50s

Food19 Decor11 Service14 Cost$14
Melt Shop

Sandwich Shop • Nomad

Food19 Decor11 Service14 Cost$14
Melt Shop

Sandwich Shop • West 50s

Food19 Decor11 Service14 Cost$14
Melt Shop

Sandwich Shop • Financial District

Food19 Decor11 Service14 Cost$14

Mexican • Webster

Food22 Decor21 Service21 Cost$19

Mexican • North Austin

Food23 Decor22 Service22 Cost$21

Mexican • Briargrove

Food22 Decor21 Service21 Cost$19

Mexican • Katy

Food22 Decor21 Service21 Cost$19

Mexican • Round Rock

Food23 Decor22 Service22 Cost$21

Mexican • Zilker

Food23 Decor22 Service22 Cost$21

Mexican • Shenandoah

Food22 Decor21 Service21 Cost$19

Mexican • North Austin

Food23 Decor22 Service22 Cost$21

Mexican • River Oaks

Food22 Decor21 Service21 Cost$19
DBGB Kitchen and Bar

French • East Village

Food22 Decor22 Service21 Cost$57
T.H.A.I. In Shirlington

Thai • Arlington

Food24 Decor19 Service22 Cost$23

Asian • Penn Quarter/Chinatown

Food22 Decor22 Service21 Cost$37

Eastern European • Capitol Hill

Food23 Decor22 Service22 Cost$38
Toro Toro

Latin American • Downtown

Food24 Decor22 Service19 Cost$38
Masa 14

Latin American • 14th Street Corridor

Food23 Decor22 Service21 Cost$38
El Centro D.F.

Mexican • 14th Street Corridor

Food21 Decor20 Service19 Cost$29
El Centro D.F.

Mexican • Georgetown

Food21 Decor20 Service19 Cost$29
DGS Delicatessen

Jewish • Dupont Circle

Food23 Decor19 Service19 Cost$31

Sandwich Shop • White House/World Bank

Food20 Decor17 Service17 Cost$33
Bangkok Golden

Seven Corners

Food25 Decor17 Service22 Cost$25
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