The 7 Best Restaurants to Open in DC This Fall (So Far)
From a decadent burger place to “hot oil” pies from an unsung US pizza mecca
To keep tabs on every DC restaurant and bar opening is folly. But to keep tabs on the most worthy? Yeoman’s work, and we’re proud to do it. Thus we present Table Stakes, a monthly rundown of the five (or so) must-know spots that have swung wide their doors in the past thirty (or so). Bon appétit.
If it seems like a less than ideal time to be opening a restaurant, bar or cafe, that’s because it is. Nonetheless, restaurateurs continue to jump through the numerous hoops required to see their dreams become a reality.
The latest crop of DC openings also show a promising direction for the city, from newcomers bringing a totally unprecedented cuisine to the District to the continued rise of the elevated food hall, allowing eager chefs to bring their food to the masses without the astronomical cost of opening their own brick and mortar.
Without further ado, here are the best and latest additions to the DC culinary scene.
Ilhama Safarova moved to DC from her native Azerbaijan just two years ago to pursue her dream of attending college in the States. Now, with the recent opening of Sharbat, Safarova has brought a piece of home to share with the city. The first and only Azerbaijani spot in Washington, Sharbat offers traditional Slavic desserts like honey cake, a soft and fluffy multilayered confection. Elsewhere, sweet cakes and moon-shaped shekerbura stuffed with hazelnuts share the menu with savory options such as feta-filled xachapuri or black sesame goghal buns.
Getting tired of your routine grocery-store runs? New kid in town Baker’s Daughter is here to offer you something a little more interesting. Debuted recently by Matt Baker, the chef at Michelin-rated Gravitas, Baker’s Daughter is a boutique cafe and market packed with gourmet items by local suppliers. Visit for your morning coffee, groceries for prepping dinner and even chef-curated CSA baskets.
Slice Joint at The Roost
A brand new food hall called The Roost is billing itself as a “culinary clubhouse,” and now houses a growing number of vendors, from mini craft brew pub Shelter to inventive taquería Hi/Fi. Its latest addition is Slice Joint, a New York-style pizza joint by Rachael Marie of the uber popular Roberta’s Pizza in Brooklyn. Those in search of that classic, cracker-thin crust will find solace here, but that doesn’t mean that thicker “grandma-style” pies aren’t on the menu as well.
U Street Corridor
When chef Teresa Padilla, a 16-year vet of José Andrés’s ThinkFoodGroup restaurants, got laid off from her job at China Chilcano earlier this year due to the pandemic, she took her furlough as an opportunity to create something of her very own. Taqueria Xochi is an ode to her hometown of San Jose Teacalco in Tlaxcala, Mexico, and a place for her to showcase her favorite Puebla-style cemita sandwiches. The fried cutlet sandwiches are joined by a huge selection of tacos, from lengua to nopales.
Mount Vernon Triangle
Don’t come to Mélange if you’re looking for a typical run-of-the-mill burger. Do come if you’re ready to level up your meat-cheese-bun game. Opened recently by Ethiopian-born, French-trained chef Elias Taddasse, Mélange’s menu is inspired by flavors from the chef’s home country and incorporates both an elevated American burger with brown butter aioli and dishes like The National, a spicy “doro wat style” fried chicken sandwich. Coming up next is the addition of an East-African infused cocktail menu as the city reopens.
H Street Corridor
Now occupying the space that was once Kitty’s Saloon is Smokin’ Pig, a new barbecue joint that’s been trying to open for two years now. The long-awaited addition to H Street by pitmaster Shawn McWhirter is now home to chicken wings that are smoked for two hours before going in the fryer, and a giant turkey leg that is brined and smoked before getting stuffed with mac and cheese.
Don’t go to Colony Grill expecting your typical New Haven pie. This brand-new pizza joint, whose flagship location in Connecticut actually opened 85 years ago, serves its own original style of “hot oil” bar-style pies. Distinguished by a thin but super sturdy crust, their slices are perfect for those who like to double fist with a can of beer in their other hand. Butt it’s the signature homemade chili-infused oil that tops it all off.
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