03:24 am
29 October 2016

The Food Fusion: Authentic, Local and Classic D.C. Food Culture

The Food Fusion: Authentic, Local and Classic D.C. Food Culture

You won’t find any national chains at D.C.’s premier southwest waterfront development, and that’s good news for future residential and commercial tenants, as well as area residents and business travelers who consider the capital region’s chef personalities and local food culture a strong selling point. The Wharf developers have selectively kept the dining options exclusively local and distinctively linked to regionally based purveyors and businesses.

Over the last decade Washington has emerged from its provincial food offerings aimed at visiting politicians, as a city dedicated to supporting homegrown coffee roasters, craft beer and spirits, rising restaurateurs, chefs and bakers. The pulse of its restaurant scene has been remarkably elevated with local brands and market concepts including Dolcezza Gelato, Vigilante Coffee, Union Market and the Rappahannock Oyster Bar, named by the Wall Street Journal, as one of the nation’s best. The Wharf is destined to become an amalgamation of these signature ventures anchored by two of D.C.’s best-known chefs Fabio Trabocchi and Mike Isabella.

Tabocchi, of Fiola Mare fame, will open the 11,500 square foot Del Mar at the Wharf, perhaps his most expansive project to date. Featuring an additional 1,900 square feet of outdoor space, Del Mar will focus on Spanish food and culture, an homage to Tabocchi’s wife Maria, a Mallorca native.

D.C. chef Mike Isabella and fellow Top Chef alum Jennifer Carroll are partnering to launch Requin, a French-Mediterranean seafood restaurant that will combine Carroll’s formal experience as Le Bernadin’s sous chef with locally sourced seafood and an expansive wine list. In an interview with the Washington Post, Carroll noted, “When the whole Wharf opportunity came up and became available, both Mike and I became super-excited about it because it fits my style and who I am and what I want to do.” In addition to Del Mar and Requin, Jamie Leeds, of Hank’s Oyster Bar will open Hank’s on the Water, featuring an “urban beach food,” concept, with an assortment of small and large plates. Joining the ranks is Restaurant Eve’s executive chef, Cathal Armstrong, who is slated to open a Filipino-themed restaurant on site in 2018.

New locations of recognized names including Taylor Gourmet, Rappahannock Oyster Bar, and Dolcezza Gelato, will open alongside entirely new entertainment and watering holes. Well-known local mixologist Todd Thrasher, from Alexandria’s Restaurant Eve and the PX Lounge, will open the Potomac Distilling Company, a two-story rum distillery and tavern. Irishman Mark Kirwan will open a namesake Irish pub at the Wharf, featuring live music and Irish pub fare. Perhaps, most notably, a major expansion of Seth Hurwitz’s legendary 9:30 Club will open with a 6,000 seat capacity for drawing large crowds to hear popular artists.

While several restaurants and retail opportunities haven’t been officially announced, the Wharf is rapidly building anticipation for re-invigorating new life and commerce into the southwest waterfront.