Founding Farmers Opening Outside Philly
Founding Farmers, the D.C.-based restaurant group that is partly owned by the North Dakota Farmers Union, will open its first location outside the DMV in King of Prussia, Pa., in 2017.
The 14,000 square-foot restaurant will be on two levels and seat 300 in the new 260,000 square-foot King of Prussia Town Center about 30 minutes outside Philadelphia within walking distance of the massive King of Prussia Mall. It will be a new mixed-use development with dining, retail and residences owned by JBG Cos.
The restaurant’s in-house bakery will be on the ground floor with the main dining room and bar on the upper level. It will be joined by a Wegmans, Fogo de Chao, Old Town Pour House and Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar along with fast-casual spots including Naf Naf Grill and Honeygrow, which is looking to open in the DMV.
Dan Simons, founder of Farmers Restaurant Group, said Philadelphia made sense because of its close proximity to the DMV. “Going to King of Prussia doesn’t feel far. We already buy loads of product and produce year-round from Pennsylvania producers, and we can get to King of Prussia with an easy drive or train ride, so our current team will expand while still being very connected.”
The chain is also working to open a new restaurant in Reston in early winter 2017 as well as a new concept, Farmers & Distillers, which includes an in-house distillery, later this year at 600 Massachusetts Ave. NW.
Espita begins serving lunch, brunch
Espita Mezcaleria, 1250 Ninth St. NW, is now serving lunch from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and brunch from 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
The lunch menu features a collection of sopes, ensaladas, tacos and ceviches that can be found on the dinner menu, along with a selection of tortas, served on a brioche roll from Lyon Bakery. Tortas include the milanesa with crispy chicken, shredded cabbage, chipotle mayo and cilantro; hamburguesa with short rib, green chorizo, rajas, queso Oaxaca, lime mayo and salsa roja; and tilapia with lime mayo, onions and green cabbage. Lunch items are priced from $3-$23 each.
Also available during lunch are two Precio Fijo, or fixed price specials. The Numero 4 features a hamburguesa torta and yuca fritais priced at $17 and the Random Taco Combo has two tilapia tacos and a green kale salad with candied walnuts, queso fresco, chile pasilla and agave vinaigrette for $18.
Brunch features classic American staples along with dishes influenced by Southern Mexico such as the chilango, potato hash with slow poached eggs, chorizo and salsa verde; chilaquiles, tortilla squares smothered in salsa roja and topped with eggs over easy, queso freso and cilantro; torrejas, French toast with smoked agave and mezcal-infused bananas; biscuits and eggs with jalapeno Chihuahua biscuits, slow poached eggs and árbol hollandaise; omelets including maitake mushroom with scallions, cilantro and red onion; ranchera with Serrano ham and salsa ranchera; or queso Chihuahua with beet sprouts and queso fresco; tortas de huevos, baked eggs with chorizo and papa, black kale and cremini mushrooms or papas and queso Chihuahua. House-made taco choices include the skirt steak with salsa baga and cilantro; chicken with red bell pepper sofrito; grilled tilapia with pickled carrot, cabbage slaw and chipotle mayo; and the maitake mushroom with salsa borracha and pickled white onion.
A selection of brunch cocktails will also be available including Misa del Gallo with tequila, grapefruit, honey and sparkling rosé; Guadalupe with house-made bloody Mary mix and mezcal; and Que Onda with mezcal, aged rum, cold brew coffee and lemon. Non-alcoholic cocktails include the Jamaica agua fresca with hibiscus, lime and raw agave. Non-alcoholic drinks are $3 each, and cocktails are $12-$13 each.
Vinoteca opens outdoor patio and plaza
Vinoteca, 1940 11th St. NW, has reopened its front patio and backyard plaza bar with a new grill menu, spring cocktails and its oyster-shell bocce court.
The new spring grill menu includes dishes like the Southwest-inspired Sonoran sausage, a grilled pork sausage with bacon, smoked jalapeno crema, beans and onion; the flank steak banh mi with horseradish hoisin, carrot, red onion and cilantro; and the grilled Portobello burger with hummus, feta, cucumber and red onion. Vegetarian grill dishes include elote, grilled corn with queso fresco, crema, cilantro and smoked paprika; and grilled haloumi panzanella with tomato, cucumber, Castelvetrano olives, red onion and bread salad.
Lighter bites include scallop ceviche with lime tigers milk, jalapeno, mango, scallions, cilantro and prosciutto; the roasted beet salad with toasted pepitas, shallots, frisee and crème fraiche; caprese skewers with house-pulled mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, caperberries, basil and balsamic vinaigrette. Snacks include Jojos, grilled sweet potato wedges dusted with Cajun spice and paired with a gorgonzola dipping sauce; and plantain chips.
With warm weather comes the return of the rosé grape, and Vinoteca has added 12 new rosés to its wines list. Offering a range of sparkling and still rosés from France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and the U.S. There is also a rosé wine flight – Rosé Colored Glasses – for $16. New spring cocktails include the aperitif-based Blushing Adonis made with Valdespino Inocente Fino sherry, Cocchi Rosa vermouth and Scrappy’s grapefruit bitters; the “M” with house-made lemon vodka wash, Fifty Pounds gin and El Paso de Lazo Blanco; the Sparkling Rickey with Fords Gin, sparkling wine and fresh lime juice; and the U Street Mule with vodka, Domaine de Canton French ginger liqueur, fresh grapefruit juice and Blenheim’s hot ginger beer. Cocktails range from $11-$16.
There are also two sangrias: the sparkling sangria ($30/pitcher) made with Cava, Spanish brandy, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, Licor 43 and fresh citrus; and red sangria ($8 glass/$32 pitcher) made with Tempranillo, Spanish brandy, rum, spices, fresh citrus and apple.
The bocce court is open from 5 p.m.-close Wednesday through Friday and 11 a.m.-close Saturday and Sunday. It is closed Monday and Tuesday for D.C. Bocce League play. The plaza happy hour from 5-7 p.m. daily features $5 wines and Peronis and discounted small plates. Brunch is also served on the plaza and sidewalk patio from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Jack Rose introduces new rooftop terrace menu and cocktails
Jack Rose Dining Saloon, 2007 18th St. NW, has launched a new menu and cocktails on its rooftop terrace.
A wood grill will offer a variety of pit grilled tacos ranging from coriander and tomatillo chicken for $12, ancho chile and epazota steak for $13 and Creole and garlic shrimp for $14, all paired with house-made guacamole, pico de gallo and curtido. Other dishes include tastes of the Bay including a soft shell crab sandwich with dijonaise and Old Bay slaw.
New cocktails — $13 each – include the Domo Arigato with Bulleit bourbon, cherry blossom syrup and Boston Bittahs; the Unusual Suspects with Hendricks gin, goji liqueur, Lillet Blanc, lemon and watermelon-cucumber syrup; and the Don’t Blink with Bulliet rye, raspberry-infused Campari, simple syrup, grapefruit and lime. Two beer-tails include the Crowd Pleasner with Brooklyn pilsner, Deep Eddy vodka, honey-basil syrup and lemon; and the Peaches & Beam with Allagash White, Jim Beam bourbon, Copper & Kings apple brandy, creme de peche and lemon. Tiki cocktails include the Right Turn Clyde with tequila cabeza, Giffards Banane du Bresil, lime, Tiki and Angostura bitters; and Rum to the Chata with Captain Morgan spiced rum, almond milk, cinnamon syrup, lime and sugar.
Also new is a line-up of boilermakers, featuring unlikely beer-and-shot combos including the Stiegl Radler and Cimmaron blanco tequila, Coney Island hard root beer and green chartreuse, and the IPA of the day and a cask-strength Islay scotch.
Happy hour on the terrace is from 5-7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday with half-priced bites and $2 off drafts and wine by the glass.
Food truck chefs and baker launch marijuana edibles company
Two DMV food truck chefs and a city baker have launched D.C. Taste Buds, a company that will sell food products laced with marijuana.
Victoria Harris, co-founds of the Cap Mac food truck, Anna Leis, co-founder of the D.C. Empanadas food truck, and Warren Brown, who formerly owned CakeLove, which closed last year, are currently developing the products that they hope to sell in medical marijuana dispensaries by summer. Although they haven’t said what products they expect to have, they’ve said sweet items will be first followed by savory. All of the items will include locally sourced marijuana.
In the meantime, they are testing recipes – er eating their pot-laced products – and sharing them with friends.
Met Bethesda celebrates Passover with specials
Met Bethesda, 7101 Democracy Blvd., Bethesda, is celebrating Passover with three specials now through Friday, April 29.
Offered during dinner, the specials include kicked-up matzo ball soup with avocado and chilies for $10, and the glazed corned beef brisket with heirloom carrots and potatoes, mustard maple glaze and a matzo meal popover for $19. Both are served with a basket of matzo bread. For dessert, diners can order the untraditional kugel, chocolate noodle pudding with warm whiskey sauce for $8.
Commissary happy hour benefits Grassroot Project
Commissary, 1443 P St. NW, will host a happy hour at its bar and lounge benefiting The Grassroot Project from 3-7 p.m. today, April 23. The local non-profit organization focuses on using the mentorship of Division 1 student-athletes to teach at-risk school-aged children about HIV/AIDS awareness and protection.
All food and drink will be $3-$7 and 15 percent of sales will be donated to The Grassroot Project. In addition, 100 percent of proceeds from the Skyy’s No Limit cocktail made with Skyy vodka, grapefruit shrub, lime and ginger beer will be donated.
Bayou Bakery hosts crawfish boils
Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery will host a series of all-you-can-eat and drink crawfish boils at both the Capitol Hill and Arlington locations on Saturdays from 5-7 p.m. Cost is $30.
The boils kick off today, April 23, at the 901 Pennsylvania Ave. SE restaurant and will continue on May 21 and June 18. The 1515 N. Courthouse Road, Arlington, location will host boils on May 7 and June 4.
The communal meal will take place on the patio with rows of tables and trays loaded up a pound at a time with spicy Louisiana crawfish served with peppery new potatoes and corn on the cob. Peel-n-eat Creole-seasoned shrimp will also be for sale.
Black’s Bar & Kitchen hosts whisky hour
Black’s Bar & Kitchen, 7750 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda with host a whisky hour with Catoctin Creek Distilling Co. from 7-9 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26.
The happy hour will include whisky cocktails, tastings from Catoctin’s portfolio, local oysters and whisky and food pairings. Catoctin Creek owners Becky and Scott Harris will be on hand to discuss their spirits. Cocktails will include two signature cocktails showcasing Roundstone Rye, which was bottled from a cask made exclusively for the Black Restaurant Group; and a white whisky punch made with Mosby’s Spirit White Whisky.
Menu items include sour orange-moho glazed pork belly with banana ketchup, fruit slaw, cilantro and local honey; BBQ roasted Chesapeake Bay oyster with Tasso ham and gremolata; and five spice maple cured Long Island duck breast with crispy bahn xeo scallion pancake, shaved broccoli, peanuts and Minnesota white oak barrel chip.
Tickets are $75 and can be purchased online. Proceeds benefit the Black’s Family Foundation.
Kelly Bunkers named new executive chef at Ardeo+Bardeo
Kelly Bunkers is the new executive chef at Ardeo+Bardeo, 3311 Connecticut Ave. NW.
Bunkers began his restaurant career at 16 working as a food runner and later line cook at a restaurant and casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He garnered more experience working at two local French restaurants while earning his associates degree in culinary arts and restaurant management from Iowa Western Community College in 2000.
Following graduation, Bunkers worked as executive chef at the French Café in Omaha, Neb. In 2006, he moved to Las Vegas where he worked as chef de partie of L’Atelier De Joël Robuchon, a French restaurant in the MGM Grand. After two years, he accepted a position as master cook at the Asian-Italian Sensi in the Bellagio Resort & Casino working for Royden Ellamar. In 2009, he became sous chef at the Vdara Hotel & Spa, where he responsible for banquets, in-room dining and the Market Café.
In 2013, he moved to Washington, D.C. to work at Le Diplomate, where he most recently served as executive sous chef for Stephen Starr.
Haidar Karoum leaving Proof, Estadio and Doi Moi
Mark Kuller, who died in 2014, recruited Karoum to open the wine-centered, modern-American restaurant Proof at 775 G St. NW in 2007. The duo opened the Spanish Estadio at 1520 14th St. NW in 2010 and the Southeast Asian Doi Moi at 1800 14th St. NW in 2013.
Jason Kuller, Mark Kuller’s brother and president and CEO of Fat Baby Inc., which runs the restaurants, said chef de cuisine Brittany Frick will lead Doi Moi and its downstairs bar 2 Birds 1 Stone, while chef de cuisine Rufino Bautista will run the kitchen at Estadio and executive sous chef Ben Scramm will take over at Proof.
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.