in partnership
After a friends and family tasting on June 26, Sushi Gakyu officially opened to the public June 27, specializing in sushi and sashimi dishes custom made by chef Yoshi Ota. (Image: Duane Heaton)

Open & Shut: Late June and early July restaurant rumblings


Chicken & Whiskey: It's hard to imagine there is still a need for anything dining-wise on 14th street, but this new Peruvian chicken restaurant, coupled with the whiskey bar next door, is already proving otherwise. The mixed-breed experimental venture opened on June 20 and brines its birds for 12 hours before roasting them in wood charcoal ovens. They sell them whole, halved or quartered and you can pair it with two sides, such as fried yucca, beans, rice or plantains. Sandwiches, salads, arepas, wings and noodle dishes are also available. The fast casual eatery is open from 11 a.m. until midnight (3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays), but the 66-deep whiskey list doesn't become an option until after 5 p.m.

1738 14th Street NW

Crimson Diner: We've already told you what Chinatown's Pod Hotel offers to travelers, but what about its culinary additions to the city? As of June 26, travelers and locals alike can experience the latest offering from the Hilton Brothers at this 3,500-square-foot hotel eatery. Located on the main floor of the Pod Hotel, the Hilton brothers hoped to create "a warm, inviting space where people are welcome to congregate, socialize, work or wind down" with traditional Southern fare served all day, ranging from biscuits to fried chicken and pickle sandwiches, corned beef hash, boozy milkshakes and freshly brewed coffee. Expect Crimson View -- the hotel's rooftop bar -- and Crimson Whiskey Bar to open later this summer.

627 H St NW

Maxwell Park: In our mind, Brent Kroll can do no wrong and his new 33-seat wine bar is no exception! He has spent more than a decade improving the beverage menus at places around the District such as Proof, Oval Room, The Partisan and Iron Gate is finally doing his own thing, with the June 26th opening of Maxwell Park. Kroll plans to keep things fresh by rotating at least half his selections each month and highlighting under-recognized wines or regions through various monthly themes. The opening theme, for example, was "ABPG (Anything But Pinot Grigio" featuring Italian whites that you wouldn't necessarily be drawn to in the grocery store. Not a wine drinker? Check out Kroll's bottled cocktails, beer and cider offerings.

1336 9th St NW

Hummingbird: If you're familiar with the restaurant world at all, you know that sometimes things just don't go according to schedule. Cathal Armstrong, of Restaurant Eve fame, had a decision to make when not all of his decor for newly-opened riverfront restaurant Hummingbird was in place by early July: open anyways, or wait until things were perfectly situated. The industry veteran decided to push ahead and opened his doors to patrons as scheduled and calls the space a work in progress. As he told Eater DC, the oyster bar wasn't even delivered until July 14 and he's still working to get it installed -- “I’ll continue to add stuff throughout the summer,” Armstrong said. Nevertheless, the hotel restaurant is already serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner and plans to add brunch and happy hour soon.

220 South Union St, Alexandria, VA

Mola: As a Mount Pleasant resident, I can't help but be giddy with excitement over this addition to my 'hood! Don't get me wrong, I love me some Haydees and Purple Patch, but when I heard we were adding paella and Patatas Bravas and sangria to the dining options in Mount P, I was beside myself. After a few soft opens, the restaurant officially launched dinner service on June 7, so get thee to my new favorite neighborhood haunt and don't sleep on the fried goat cheese with honey and beet chips!

3155 Mt Pleasant St NW

Sushi Gakyu: I'll never say no to a new sushi spot! From the chef behind popular Bethesda restaurant Yuzu Japanese Dining comes this 67-seat (with 24 additional patio seats and a chef's table) upscale dining experience just steps away from the White House. Sushi Gakyu specializes in sushi and sashimi dishes custom made by chef Yoshi Ota, who has mastered the art of sushi-making after 30 years, and slings some rare sakes. After a friends and family tasting on June 26, the restaurant officially opened to the public June 27.

1420 New York Ave NW

Doi Dua: Starting tomorrow, this Vietnamese pop-up will serve weekly dinners in the former Conbini Cafe space in Shopkeeper's Gallery. over in the H Street corridor. According to their website they will offer "a casual à la carte menu on Thursdays, and a tasting menu on Fridays and Saturdays." The ladies behind these dinners, Anna Vocaturo and Sarah Bui, have been playing around with Vietnamese tasting menus at Shopkeeper's since March, and are ready to take on a more permanent role.

1231 Florida Ave NE

ChiKo: What do you get when you combine Mandu co-founder Danny Lee, Matchbox Food Group co-founder Drew Kim, and The Source by Wolfgang Puck alum Scott Drewno, who are calling themselves the Fried Rice Collective? A Chinese-Korean fusion restaurant called ChiKo! As of July 7, Barracks Row diners can nosh on everything from Orange-ish Chicken to House Fried Rice with Sichuan Hot Smoked Blue Catfish, Kimchi Stew, Wagshal’s Chopped Brisket and the restaurant's sole dessert, the Fruit Bowl.

423 Eighth Street SE


Restaurant Nora: This one hits the D.C. community hard! The nearly 40-year-old stalwart of the organic movement (it was the first ever certified organic restaurant in the country) served its last patrons on Friday June 30. Chef/owner Nora Pouillon, who received a James Beard Lifetime Achievement award this year, said she was simply ready to retire at 73, but she's still looking for a buyer for the property, which is currently listed for $5 million by Coldwell Banker Real Estate -- $7 mil if you want to keep the Restaurant Nora name.

Halal Guys: After less than two months, this NYC-based chain has closed their H Street storefront indefinitely. "The newly opened Halal Guys on H Street NE in Washington, D.C. has closed this week indefinitely due to equipment maintenance issues,” said an official statement. “We are currently addressing the unforeseen problems identified and will provide updates as they become available." Sounds like they might be looking to reopen in a new location. The other four DMV-area Halal Guys remain open.

Tortilla Coast (Logan Circle): According to POPville, the Logan Circle location of Tortilla Coast, which opened in 2012, closed very abruptly in June; the Capitol Hill location remains open.

R.F.D. Caps fans who are still mourning yet another disappointing playoff season are now doubly sad, as this go-to pre/post-game Chinatown bar announced its sudden closure last week. The July 11 Facebook post simply stated that "After 15 years, 4.9 MILLION BEERS, & 30k Brick Burgers, @RFDLoveTheBeer & the Brickskeller family are closing our doors. Cheers & God Bless." According to DCist, owner Josh Alexander said that despite business being strong, he couldn't stomach the proposed 10 percent rent increase. Loyal patrons can assuage some of their sadness by picking up a piece of R.F.D. memorabilia through its online auction now through July 26.

Bar Civita: According to chef/owner Liam LaCivita (who spoke to Washingtonian), this Woodley Park neighborhood joint will shutter before the end of July. The "Italian influenced American" restaurant was a love letter to Italian culture and regional cooking that opened in 2015. Bar Civita is the latest in a string of WP neighborhood staples, such as Ripple and Nam Viet, closing up shop.