Astro Beer Hall Opens at Metro Center
Astro Beer Hall, an 11,000-square foot, two-level beer hall and coffee shop, opened on Friday, Oct. 4 at 1306 G St. NW. It is a collaboration between Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken and Tin Shop, the folks behind Penn Social, Big Chief, Franklin Hall, Church Hall and TallBoy.
Located next door to the original Astro Doughnuts, Astro Beer Hall seats 350 and serves lunch, happy hour and dinner. Breakfast and full La Colombe coffee service will debut in the coming weeks. Astro Doughnuts’s original location will remain take-out only, with guests able to dine-in at Astro Beer Hall.
The space-themed interior dedicated to space exploration features a “Shoot The Moon” mural by Patrick Owens, a series of custom comic prints and wallpaper depicting the inside of a space shuttle. A game room features pool tables, board games and a dozen arcade games, including Golden Tee, Pacman, Ms. Pacman, Frogger, Galaga, Shoot to Win Basketball, Beer Ball, pinball (Elvis and Pinbot), Target: Terror, Frogger, Donkey Kong and Pump It Up NX.
The menu was developed by chef Chris Kujala from Astro Doughnuts and features snacks such as loaded tater tots, wings and chicken sliders, a variety of chicken sandwiches and salads, and new items such as a grilled cheese and bacon doughnut sandwich and a crispy portobello mushroom vegan salad. Hearty dinner options include classic bone-in fried chicken combinations, chicken fried steak with sausage gravy and cheddar biscuit, and a family meal for sharing between two or more. A variety of house-made sauces will be available such as buttermilk ranch, rosemary honey mustard, sriracha buffalo, green goddess and comeback sauce, a zesty dipping sauce originating in Jackson, Miss. Desserts include warm doughnut bread pudding, a chocolate cake doughnut filled with ice cream, a chocolate cake doughnut sundae and “fried to order” cake doughnuts.
The beer menu includes beers from 20 taps, including Flying Dog, D.C. Brau, Anxo, Aslin, Maine Beer Co. and more. Galactic-themed cocktails include two draft selections: Astro’s version of a Mai Tai dubbed “Astronaut Juice,’ and the “Sputnick,” a riff on the Moscow Mule. Additional cocktail options will include classics like Manhattans, Old Fashioneds, Negronis and gin & tonics. House red, white and rose wines will be available.
Astro Beer Hall is open from 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Happy Hour featuring $2 off draft beer and cocktails is from 4-7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Breakfast will be added later.
Landry’s buys Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse & Grille
Private equity firm L Catterton completed its purchase of Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group Inc. for approximately $650 million at the end of September.
As part of the transaction, L Catterton will sell two of the restaurant group’s brands — Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, which has a location at 950 I St. NW in CityCenterDC, and Del Frisco’s Grille, located at 1201 Pennsylvania Ave. NW and 11800 Grand Park Ave., North Bethesda in Pike & Rose — to Landry’s Inc. for an undisclosed amount.
Among the area restaurants the Houston-based Landry’s owns are Cadillac Bar, Chart House, Joe’s Crab Shack, Mastro’s, McCormick & Schmick’s, Morton’s the Steakhouse and The Oceanaire. Landry’s had previously tried to acquire the Del Frisco’s brands.
The remaining Del Frisco’s brands — Bartaco with locations at 28920 District Ave. in Fairfax’s Mosaic District and 12021 Town Square St. in Reston Town Center and Barcelona Wine Bar with locations at 1622 14th St. NW, 3310 Wisconsin Ave. NW in Cathedral Heights and 12023 Town Square St in Reston Town Center — will operate as separate entities with different leadership and business strategies under the L Catterton portfolio, which includes Chopt Creative Salad Co., Noodles & Company and Uncle Julio’s Mexican.
“We are confident that the separation of the business and the sale of the steak concepts to Landry’s creates the best opportunity to unlock value in all of the company’s restaurant brands,” said Andrew Taub, managing partner at L Catterton in a statement.
“With more than 500 restaurants across the world, including a number of successful steak restaurants, Landry’s leadership in hospitality and dining is widely established, making them an ideal owner of Del Frisco’s steak business.”
“We couldn’t be happier with the acquisition and are planning no changes to the operations,” Tilman J. Fertitta, Landry’s CEO said in a statement.
Cheesecake Factory buys North Italia, Flower Child
The Cheesecake Factory said Wednesday it has closed its acquisitions of Fox Restaurant Concepts (FRC) and the North Italia casual-dining brand.
The Calabasas Hills, Calif.-based Cheesecake Factory, which invested $88 million in Fox Restaurant’s casual-dining North Italia and fast-casual Flower Child three years ago, announced the $353 million acquisition last Wednesday.
Phoenix-based Fox Restaurants operates 47 restaurants in eight states and the District, including the recently opened Flower Child at 2112 Pennsylvania Ave. NW and 1205 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda, 10072 Darnestown Road, Rockville and one set to open at 1656 Boro Place, McLean.
Cheesecake Factory said Fox Restaurant Concepts will operate as an independent subsidiary and continue to be led by founder Sam Fox from FRC’s headquarters in Phoenix.
The Cheesecake Factory said it will move operations for North Italia, which has 21 locations in 10 states and at 2112 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, to its Calabasas Hills headquarters “to help scale the concept nationally.”
With the Fox Restaurants acquisition, The Cheesecake Factory now owns 288 restaurants in the U.S. and Canada under brands that include Cheesecake Factory, Grand Lux Café, RockSugar Southeast Asian Kitchen and Social Monk Asian Kitchen. The company also has 23 Cheesecake Factory restaurants internationally that operate under licensing agreements and a bakery division with two locations.
Inspire Brands acquires Jimmy John’s
Inspire Brands announced at the end of September that it has agreed to buy Jimmy John’s sandwiches. The terms were not disclosed.
Atlanta-based Inspire owns the Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Sonic Drive-In and Rusty Taco brands. Jimmy John’s has more than 2,800 locations across 43 states and the District.
“Jimmy John’s has found the ideal home at Inspire,” said the sandwich chain’s founder and chairman, Jimmy John Liautaud in a statement. “Inspire’s long-term approach, culture of innovation and commitment to helping brands grow sets it apart from the rest. I couldn’t be prouder of the company we’ve built, and I can’t wait to see what Jimmy John’s is able to accomplish under Inspire’s leadership.”
As part of the agreement, Liautaud will step down as chairman and transition to an advisor to the brand.
“Jimmy John’s is a great fit for the Inspire family,” said Paul Brown, Inspire’s co-founder and CEO. “What started in 1983 as a sandwich shop in a converted garage in Charleston, Ill., has grown into a national, differentiated brand with a passionate fanbase. We are excited to welcome the Jimmy John’s brand to Inspire and look forward to working with their team and franchisees to help the company achieve its next stage of growth.”
Inspire, which is owned by Roark Capital Group, was created in 2018 after Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. completed a $2.9 billion acquisition of Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. and renamed itself.
Two D.C. moms opening “family social club” in Ivy City
Two D.C. mothers will open The Lane, a family social club at 1408 Okie St. NE in Ivy City late this winter that will include chaperoned play areas, soft spaces, family programming and an all-day café.
Molly Nizhnikov and Rachel Lubin, both working mothers with two young daughters, are behind the two-level, 7,880-square foot concept that will feature one-of-a-kind play structures for children, comfortable seating areas for adults, programming for the whole family, a café and bar serving food and drinks from local makers, and private spaces for parties classes and other events.
Instead of heading to the suburbs, The Lane will offer families a fun, safe and social space in the city that caters to the whole family. Parents will also be able to run errands with Mom’s Organic Market, T.J. Maxx, Target and Planet Fitness nearby.
Designed by Form Architects, the first floor will feature an open layout with lots of room to run, creative play structures, a chalk art wall and a ball pit with a built-in surround couch. A connected mezzanine will have a long slide and climbing wall. Play areas will be chaperoned by “lifeguards,” staff members who will keep a watchful eye on the kids and lead activities like story time, Lego building and drum circles.
A soft play area for babies flanks the all-day café, which will serve, coffee, beer, wine and juices boxes, as well as pastries, baked goods, sandwiches and salads. The menu will also have on-the-go snacks and “big and little” versions of dishes like grilled cheese or meat-and-cheese plates.
Nizhnikov and Lubin also plan to host pop ups from local concepts. There will also be a catering kitchen available for special events, pop-ups and other food and beverage partnerships.
Programming and events will include indoor movie nights, music classes, drum circles, four-square games, family yoga classes, dance parties, s’mores roasting, bubbles & bubbly, story time and more.
Two private party rooms will be available, in addition to a 2,100 square feet roof deck, which will be open daily and used for special events during the warmer months.
Memberships will start at $80 per month for a family of four plus one caregiver and include unlimited visits. Additional children and $15 each. A new parent membership for one parent and child is $175 for three months. Day passes will start at $17 for a 2-hour stay or $22 for all day (adult chaperones are free, and the price falls for additional children).
Call Your Mother celebrates first anniversary
Call Your Mother Jew-ish Deli, 3301 Georgia Ave. NW, is celebrating its first anniversary today, Oct. 7.
The first 365 guest in line will receive a Call Your Mother birthday card. Each card will contain a different prize including coffee, latkes, swag and more.
Call Your Mother is open from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. daily.
Dish & Dram observes Breast Cancer Awareness Month
All during October, The Dish & Dram, 10301 Kennsington Parkway, New Kennsington, Md., is honoring Breast Cancer Awareness Month by highlighting wines from female-owned and operated wineries on its exclusive monthly Kensington Wine Club (KWC) list as well as available for all restaurant guests on Wine Down Wednesdays throughout the month.
Wines include If You See Kay for $15 a glass and $45 a bottle for KWC members and $50 for non-members; Yalumba, The Strapper, Australia for $42 a bottle for KWC members and $48 for non-members; Edles Tal, Weingut Franz & Christine Netzl, Austria, $53 a bottle KWC members and $59 non-members. In addition, diners can toast with Hillinger Secco ($12 a glass/$48 bottle), which donates a portion of its sales to the Austrian Pink Ribbon Campaign.
Also featured will be the restaurant’s local, woman-owned and operated Southeastern Roastery Coffee.
A portion of the wine and coffee sales will be donated to the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.
Oceanaire celebrates 2 causes during October
The Oceanaire Seafood Room, 1201 F St. NW, is celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month and National Seafood Month during October:
For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Oceanaire will feature Pink Ribbon Oysters for $4.40 each. Pink Ribbon Oysters are harvested by hand from Long Island Sound. The restaurant will donate 25% net revenue of every Pink Ribbon Oyster to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Pink Baked Alaska – made with pink meringue and premium chocolate ice cream – will also be available.
To celebrate National Seafood Month, the restaurant will offer twin lobster tails three way. Diners can order two cold water lobster tails prepared either crab-stuffed, angry or Thermidor for $42 all month. From Oct. 14-30, Alaskan King Crab will be $35 per pound.
Bombay Club takes guests on regional Indian journey
The Bombay Club, 815 Connecticut Ave. NW, is taking diners on culinary adventure during Sunday brunch in October exploring dishes from different regions of India.
Executive chef Nilesh Singhvi will offer a different three-course menu during Sunday brunch service each and will highlight the regions of Mughlai on Oct. 13, Dehli Punjab on Oct. 20 and South India on Oct. 27. The price is $27 per person or $42 with bottomless mimosas and champagne.
Mughlai is a style of cooking used in Northern India, specifically the regions of Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. The cuisine is strongly influenced by the Muslim, Persian and Turkic cuisines of West and Central Asia, and has in turn strongly influenced the regional cuisines of Kashmir and the Punjab region. The tastes of Mughlai cuisine can vary from extremely mild to spicy. Dishes have a distinctive aroma and the taste of ground and whole spices. Moghal chefs are known for perfecting an aromatic cream sauce made with ghee, cream, garlic and onions. Menu highlights from this region include lagan ki boti with lamb, yogurt, caramelized onion and mace; hara kebab with spinach, lentils and garam masala; dum ki machli with fish, roasted gram flour, yogurt and cashew; dum aloo with tomato, cashew, ginger and mace; gosht biryani with lamb, rice, onion, saffron and garam masala, and subz purdah biryani with vegetables, rice, onion, saffron and garam masala. Dessert includes phirni with rice, milk and pistachio; ananas ka muzaffar with vermicelli, pineapple, milk and almonds and zauq e shahi with milk and gulab amun.
Dehli-Punjab, located in Northern India, cuisine has influenced the food habits of its residents and is where Mughlai cuisine originated. Along with Indian cuisine, a variety of international cuisines are popular among the residents. The dearth of food habits among the city’s residents has created a unique style of cooking which became popular throughout the world, with dishes such as kebab, biryani and tandoori. The fast living habits of Delhi’s people has motivated the growth of street food outlets as well as a trend of dining at local dhabas, roadside restaurants. Menu highlights from the region include gol gappa chaat with wheat crispies, mint, chickpeas and tamarind; dahi bhalla, lentil dumplings and yogurt; butter chicken, chargrilled chicken with tomato and fenugreek; lamb chops masala with onion, ginger, garlic and garam masala; fish amritsari with carom seeds, chili and mint chutney; paneer lababdar with tomato, onion and garam masala; sarson ka saag with mustard greens, garlic and cumin; aloo gobi with cauliflower, potato and ginger; baingan bharta, chargrilled eggplant with cumin and tomato; dal makhni, black lentils with kidney beans and garlic. Dessert includes gulab jamun and gajrela.
Finally, the cuisine of South India comprises a broad repertoire of rice, wheat and meat dishes and the skilled use of various spices. Hyderabadi biryan and Hyderabadi haleem, with their blend of Mughlai and Arab cuisines, have become iconic dishes of India. South Indian cuisine is highly influenced by Mughlai and to some extent by French, Arabic, Turkish, Iranian and native Telugu and Marathwada cuisines. Dishes from this region will include telangana chicken roast with onion, tomato, ginger garlic and lime; cauliflower bezule with garlic, chili pepper and curry leaves; fish moilee with coconut, onion, clove and ginger; lamb stew with onion, yogurt and fennel; mirch baingan ka salan with eggplant, jalapeño, sesame, coconut and coriander; khatti dal with lentils and tamarind, and tamarind rice with lentils, sesame, fenugreek and mustard. Dessert includes khubani ka meetha, stewed apricot, and seviyan payasam with milk and vermicelli.
Calico welcomes fall with Late Harvest Festival
Calico, 50 Blagden Alley NW, is celebrating the changing of the seasons with a Late Harvest Festival from 1-7 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 13.
Blagden Alley is welcoming the cooler weather with a free-to-attend Sunday afternoon fall fest complete with pumpkin carving, oyster grilling, candied apples, a mini farmer’s market, hot cocktails, autumnal fare and more festive seasonal fun.
Guests can peruse the seasonal produce from local farms at a mini farmer’s market, picking up fall fruits and veggies to enjoy at home. The market will feature peak-season treats such as Asian pears from Virginia’s Mountain View Orchards, Honeycrisp apples from Pennsylvania’s Bear Mountain Orchards, broccoli and cauliflower from Delaware’s Fifer Orchards, Delicata squash from Pennsylvania’s Stauffer Huling Farm and apple cider from McCutcheon’s in Frederick. D.C.-based, woman-owned urban gardener Love & Carrots will be selling a variety of edible plants to take home.
Guests can also pick their very own pumpkins from Calico’s pop-up patch and decorate them at a carving station. Freshly-popped corn with a seasoning bar will be available and just-picked apples will be hand-dipped in caramel.
Calico will be serving new seasonal fare from chef Nathan Beauchamp, such as mugs of lamb chili and vegetarian black bean chipotle chili. He will also be grilling local Chesapeake oysters throughout the afternoon.
Seasonal libations will range from hot drinks such as mulled wine and rum-spiked cider, plus bourbon mules and apple Manhattans, local cider from Anxo, fall cocktails from K Street speakeasy The Mirror, apple spice kombucha from Wild Kombucha, pumpkin and Oktoberfest beers and more.
Rounding out the festivities will be a photo booth complete with hay and gourds for the perfect Instagram-friendly photo-op.
Salt Line hosts third annual Oyster Wars
The Salt Line, 79 Potomac Ave. SE, hosts Oyster War from 2-7 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 13.
“The Best of the Ocean and Keg” gathering will offer guests the unique selections from chefs, Entertainment will be provided by the reggae band See-I and DJ Stylus Chris with friends Harry Hotter and Smudge. The annual event raises awareness and funds for the Oyster Recovery Partnership and the Anacostia Riverkeeper non-profit organizations.
The Salt Line’s Kyle Bailey will take on Mike Friedman from All Purpose Pizzeria and the Red Hen; Jeremy Sewall from the Row 34 in Boston and Island Creek Oyster Bar in Burlington, Mass.; Josh Elliott from Toro in Boston; Stephen Strjewski of Cochon in New Orleans; Katsuya Fukushima from Daikaya, Haikan and Bantam King; Marjorie Meek-Bradley from St. Anselm; Michael Rafidi from Alibi; Tiffany Maclssac from Buttercream Bakeshop; and Lauren Parlato from Sugar Fox.
It will feature oysters from War Shore Oyster Co., Onan; cock, Va.; the Harris Creek Oyster Co., Maryland; Sapidus Farms, Wicomico Church, Va.; East Beach Oyster Co., Charleston, R.I.; the Cape Cod Oyster Co., Barnstable, Mass; Mook Sea Farm, Walpole, Maine; Rising Tides Oyster Collective, Massachusetts; and the Matunuck Oyster Farm, South Kingstown, R.I.\
Beer will be supplied by Other Half Brewing, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Trillium Brewing Co., Boston; the Veil Brewing Co., Richmond; Commonwealth Brewing Co., Virginia Beach; J. Wakefield Brewing Co., Miami; Monkish Brewing, Torrance, Calif; Bissell Brothers, Portland, Maine; Allagash Brewing Co., Portland, Maine; Oxbow Brewing Co., Newcastle, Maine; Parish Brewing Co., Broussard, La.; Jester King, Austin, Texas; and D.C, Brau and 3 Stars Brewing of the District.
Tickets are $60 for general admission and $80 for VIP, which includes early admittance with exclusive access to oysters, chef tables and beer offerings along with a 2019 Oyster Wars commemorative tasting glass.
Lupo Verde celebrates monthly lasagna week
Later this month, Lupo Verde, 1401 T St. NW, will debut its new “lasagna week.”
During the last week of each month, diners can order from a rotating assortment of wide, flat house-made pasta, layered and topped with a variety of sauces and ingredients such as meats, seasonal vegetables and melted cheese. The lasagna entrée specials will rotate monthly and will be priced at $23 each.
Prepared by newly appointed executive chef Juan Ignacio Olivera, highlights off the new “lasagna week” menu include classic lasagna with black angus beef, tomato, ragù, parmigiano cheese and besciamella; fall lasagna with luganica sausage, butternut squash, mushrooms and parmigiano cheese; and a fish lasagna with Atlantic King salmon, salmon roe, besciamella and fresh cream.
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.