Palena to Close Permanently on Saturday
After failing to reach a deal with his landlord over back rent, James Beard Award-winning chef Frank Ruta will close his Cleveland Park restaurant Palena at 3529 Connecticut Ave. NW after service Saturday.
According to an eviction notice issued by the D.C. Superior Court issued Feb. 6, Palena owes Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRIT) $125,779 in back rent as of Jan. 31. At the time, Palena owed FRIT three months of rent at $30,832.18 per month plus $17,408.89 for a partial month and $15,850.48 from a lawsuit FRIT filed over back rent in 2011. Coastal Sunbelt Produce has also sued Palena in D.C. Superior Court for an amount less than $25,000 for food, according to an online search.
Ruta told the the Washington Post that FRIT and Palena had tried to resolve the issue as recently as last week, but could not.
Ruta opened Palena in 2000 after serving as a White House chef from 1979-1987 and from 1988-1991 under the Reagan and first Bush administration. The space once housed Greenwood restaurant. In 2010, Palena expanded next door into the former Magruder’s grocery going from 60 seats to 200 seats and adding a café and market. Last year, it added a coffee shop.
In a note issued Friday, the restaurant said it was “Not able to fully utilize and attain the benefits of the expansion space as intended, Palena and its Landlord, Federal Realty Trust, endeavored to reach an accord but were unable to come to terms, contributing to the decision to close.”
Ruta’s note to customers said, “We have had a great run serving the Cleveland Park neighborhood and the Washington, D.C. area and are sincerely grateful to the many that have supported us. While we are proud of the high degree of critical success Palena has achieved over the years, we take even greater joy in your patronage and that we have been able to share life’s special moments with you.”
Ruta was named Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic by the James Beard Foundation in 2007 along with R.J. Cooper, who was at Vidalia at the time.
Rammy voting closes Sunday
Public voting for the 2014 Rammy Awards will close at midnight Sunday evening. The public can vote for their Favorite Gathering Place, Upscale Brunch, Everyday Casual Brunch and Favorite Fast Bite.
Votes can be cast online here.
The finalists for Favorite Gathering Place of the Year including Bar Pilar, Bistro du Coin, Cashion’s Eat Place, Hank’s Oyster Bar in Dupont and Tune Inn. Finalists in the Favorite Fast Bites category are Amsterdam Falafelshop, Bayou Bakery, Buzz Bakery, Red Apron Butcher and Woodward TakeOut Food. Finalists for Upscale Casual Brunch of the Year include Art and Soul, Blue Duck Tavern, Mintwood Place, The Source by Wolfgang Puck and Vermilion. The finalists for Everyday Casual Brunch of the Year include DGS Delicatessen, Et Voila!, Pearl Dive Oyster Palace, Pizzeria Orso and Ted’s Bulletin on Barracks Row.
The winners will be announced at the 32nd annual Rammy Awards Gala on June 22 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
Jack Rose to debut Southern menu
Jack Rose Dining Saloon at 2007 18th St. NW in Adams Morgan has hired chef Russell Jones, who will unveil a new Southern menu on Monday to go with its 1,600 bottle whiskey selection.
Jones, whose resume includes stints at Le Paradou, as sous chef at Restaurant Eve and executive chef at Vinoteca, is looking to is South Carolina roots for inspiration. He began Apr. 14.
Bar bites will include smoked whiskey wings and shrimp hushpuppies with Old Bay aioli. There will also be a “supper plate” for two to four people, a take on a “snack dinner” his mother used to make. It was a collection of finger foods wolfed down for supper and typically served when watching football games or when his dad went golfing and his mother didn’t want to cook. It will include kettle corn, pickled vegetables, deviled eggs, red beet eggs, pimiento cheese, pork-head fritters and more.
Seasonal entrées will include comfort food such as a bone-in pork chop with braised collards and polenta to lighter options like Swiss-chard agnolotti and grouper with shiitakes and ginger. Sides will include skillet cornbread with honey butter and house bacon jam.
The new menu will be available from 5-10 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday and from 5-11 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. A late-night menu will be served until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights and include snacks such as fresh shucked oysters and house fries.
Pizza Parts and Service replaces Taylor Charles Steak & Ice
Last week, Taylor Gourmet replaced its Taylor Charles Steak & Ice with Pizza Parts and Service earlier this week at 1320 H St. NE.
The pizzeria is serving a dozen red, white and specialty pizzas in 14- and 18-inch rounds or 18-inch rectangular “nonna” style. Plain pizzas cost $8.99 for a 14-inch, $14.99 for an 18-inch and $16.99 for a nonna. Others cost $13.99 for a 14-inch, $18.99 for an 18-inch and $19.99 for a nonna.
Toppings include meatballs, soppressata, broccoli rabe, bacon and Buffalo chicken.
Also on the menu are six flavors of wings including Old Bay, hot and sweet Thai chili and Sriracha honey wings; meat and veggie calzones; two kinds of salad; garlic knots; beer; and cheesecake for dessert.
Pizza Parts and Service is open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-3:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Compass Rose Bar & Kitchen opens on T Street
Husband-and-wife duo, Rose Previte and David Green (an NPR Morning Edition cohost) and partner Mike Schuster, who co-owns Trusty’s, Star and Shamrock and other Capitol Hill eateries, opened the 65-seat Compass Rose Bar & Kitchen on Apr. 17 at 1346 T St. NW, a rowhouse next to Café Saint-Ex.
A large skylight illuminates brick walls in the cozy space lined with potted plants, repurposed wood surfaces and a blue ceiling meant to evoke the sky. A front patio has about 10 seats.
Compass Rose’s small, eclectic menu of international street food based on Previte and Green’s visits to 30 countries between 2009-2012 was designed by chef John Paul Damato, who previously was executive chef at José Andrés’ Jaleo. The menu from Damato’s small kitchen includes Georgian khachapuri, a rich Russian cheese bread topped with an egg; red shrimp spiced with pink peppercorns and pineapple from Brazil; and mini sausage corn dogs. There’s also a Chilean lomito sandwich stuffed with roast pork, avocado and spicy nduja sausage; bhel puri chaat from India; pupusas from El Salvador; and steamed mussels from Morocco.
The beverage menu is as eclectic as the food including the Lebanese 961 Red Ale from the only microbrewery in the Middle East; a Georgian house red, nicknamed “black wine” for its deep color and robust taste; or the Summer Night in Beirut, made with Hangar 1 blueberry vodka, fresh lemonade and house-made rosewater.
Previte and Green live upstairs of the restaurant, following in the tradition of her grandfather, who lived above his grocery store for many years. Hours are 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Sunday-Thursday and 5 p.m.-3 a.m. Friday-Saturday.
Red Light introduces early and late night happy hour
The newly opened Red Light cocktails and dessert bar at 1401 R St. NW will kick off its half-priced early and late night happy hour on Monday. Happy hour prices will be offered from 4-7 p.m. daily and from 11 p.m.-close Sunday-Wednesday.
Included on the happy hour menu are most of the bar’s featured libations. Beers will range from $1.75-$6 during happy hour. Guests can also enjoy wine and champagne by the glass from $3.50-$6.50 and the Three Horseman “tap” cocktails for $5 each.
Happy Hour at Red Light will also offer half price savory menu items such as fondue for two for $8, a select cheese board for $8 and cheese straws for $3.50 during the early happy hour. The “Chef’s Choice” dessert of the day will be $5 during the late-night happy hour.
Happy Hour takes place both inside where guests can sit at the concrete 18-person bar, or at two and four top tables sprinkled throughout the restaurant as well as on the 44-seat outside patio.
Rappahannock Oyster owner to open oyster bar in Merrifield
Travis Croxton, who owns Rappahannock Oyster Co., will open Rocksalt bar and restaurant in the Mosaic District in Merrifield, Va., next year.
The restaurant won’t be Rappahannock branded, but will serve oysters from the Topping, Va.-based company. Croxton hasn’t released many details, but the 4,900 square foot restaurant is slated to open sometime in 2015 and have outdoor seating.
The restaurant will be in the second phase of the project developed by Edens, which is expected to open next year.
Rappahannock has a restaurant that opened in Union Market, another Edens project, in 2012. Croxton has also partnered with Kapnos and G owner Mike Isabella on a second location of his Graffiato restaurant to be opened in Richmond.
Rocksalt will join Cava Mezze Grille, Dolcezza, Le Pain Quotidien, Matchbox Pizza, Red Apron Butcher, Sweetgreen, Taylor Gourmet and Ted’s Bulletin.
Crème to reopen on 14th Street NW
Crème Restaurant and Bar, previously located at 1322 U St. NW will reopen in June at 2438 14th St. NW in the new Capitol View building at 14th and Chapin Streets NW. The new Streets Market and Cafe opened Friday in the same building.
The U Street location closed at the end of October due to new development in the area.
According to a Facebook post, the restaurant’s chicken and waffles will be back on the brunch menu. It also promises a new dinner and happy hour menu.
The restaurants website lists its new address and hours as 5-10 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 6-11 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. for Sunday brunch.
Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop coming to Rosslyn, Annapolis
Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop, which opened at 1800 M St. NW in November, will open a second DMV location at 1500 Wilson Blvd. in Rosslyn. A third area location is planned at 2285 Forest Dr., Annapolis. No opening dates have been announced for either location.
The Rosslyn location was previously Santa Fe Café. The office building and retail space at 1500 Wilson Blvd. has since been renovated.
Capriotti’s is a sandwich shop with locations in more than a dozen states. It specializes in large sandwiches that feature turkey and roast been that has been roasted in house overnight.
A company representative said Capriotti’s was drawn to Rosslyn because there are many sandwich shops there.
Editor-in-Chief Mark Heckathorn is a journalist, movie buff and foodie. He oversees DC on Heels editorial operations as well as strategic planning and staff development. Reach him with story ideas or suggestions at dcoheditor (at) gmail (dot) com.