10 Fall Restaurant Openings in DC to Get Excited About

New York transplants arrive in DC and local favorites expand their empires.

Operating a restaurant or bar right now is tough—there’s no doubt about it. From expanding delivery and takeout programs to extra safety precautions, including mandating masks and requiring patrons to be vaccinated, there’s a lot resting on restaurants’ shoulders right now.

But even with all of the challenges the past 18 months have thrown at them, there are several new restaurants and bars on the horizon that will make for an exciting fall. Local chefs and restaurateurs are expanding their empires within the District and around the DMV area and proven favorites from up and down the East Coast are coming to town to show DC what they’re made of, and we couldn’t be more excited. While there are many new openings to look forward to (and surely some that have yet to be announced), here are 10 new spots opening their doors soon and delivering something new to the neighborhood.

Jane Jane interior
Photo courtesy of Jane Jane

Jane Jane

Address:1705 14th St NW
Opening date: Late August
DC hospitality veterans, Jean Paul (JP) Sabatier, Ralph Brabham, and Drew Porterfield are opening the cocktail bar of their dreams and it’s called Jane Jane. Located off 14th Street, Jane Jane offers a comprehensive menu of classic cocktails and bar snacks. Service will be offered in the evening until the wee hours of the morning and there are also plans to add a weekend brunch service this fall.

Diners will enjoy traditional bar snacks such as seasonal pickled vegetables in addition to a variety of house-made chips and dips: pimento cheese, onion dip, and “Jane’s Caviar” (trout roe served with creme fraiche). The cocktail menu features a wide selection of favorites like Negronis, Manhattans, and martinis, in addition to frequently overlooked classics like the Last Word and Air Mail. Rounding out the drink menu are a seasonal selection of house cocktails created by Sabatier like the Crop Top, a gin-forward drink with herbal and citrus notes, and several non-alcoholic options.

ilili interior
Photo courtesy of ilili

ilili

Address:100 District Square, The Wharf
Opening date: August/September
Known for its blend of modern and traditional Lebanese cuisine, ilili is a New York-based restaurant that’s making the move to the District. Despite being based in NYC, chef and owner Philippe Massoud has a history in DC’s restaurant scene as an instrumental influence in the now-closed upscale Mediterranean eatery Neyla in Georgetown.

Expect meze-style dishes showcasing Lebanese-, Levantine-, and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine when ilili opens its doors this fall. The menu also boasts flavorful herbs and spices that highlight Massoud’s long-held Lebanese traditions with a contemporary twist.

St. James

Address: 2017 14th Street NW, U Street
Opening date: September
Chef Peter Prime and co-owner Jeanine Prime will soon open St. James, a modern Caribbean restaurant, as a follow-up to their runaway hit restaurant, Cane, that opened in 2019. Dishes are reflective of the region’s melting pot of cultures with elevated and creative menu items celebrating the diversity of Pan-Caribbean cuisine.

Plans for brunch and dinner service are in the works, and St. James will have a patio with a dozen seats and accommodations for some standing-room only service. The restaurant is named after the St. James district in Trinidad’s capital, Port of Spain—the cultural center of the island, representing a confluence of the country’s many influences from East Indian and Chinese descendants, as well as food traditions of Black Trinidadians.

Michele’s
Photo courtesy of Michele’s

Michele’s

Address:1201 K Street NW, Downtown
Opening date: September/October
From Michelin-starred chef Matt Baker (Gravitas and Baker’s Daughter) comes Michele’s, a restaurant that pays tribute to his late mother and is inspired by his family connections to both Houston and New Orleans.

Baker will use his classical French training as a conduit to bring together the multicultural flavors of both Southern cities. Michele’s will offer an upscale New American dining experience and will be situated in the swanky Eaton DC Hotel. The menu offers up family-style dishes with seasonal produce and ingredients. Dishes include a Gruyère omelette with fine herbs and a side of morel mushroom salad, a plate of white asparagus with charred spring onions and bearnaise, and uni custard paired with Maryland crab and grapefruit sabayon.

Harvey’s

Address:513 W. Broad Street, Falls Church
Opening date: September
Chef and owner Thomas Harvey’s goal for his new 2,600-square-foot counter service restaurant is to become the go-to neighborhood spot in Falls Church. With 48 seats in the main dining room and a 12-seat beer and wine bar, the restaurant will offer daily breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Harvey’s leans heavily on classic American dishes from sandwiches to housemade pastas, and banana splits for dessert. Breakfast dishes range from $7 to $12, sandwiches from $12 to $18, and main dishes from $13 to $28. Specials will run daily.

A retail market is also planned for the space. It will showcase specialty items that are signatures to the restaurant pantry, along with prepared foods packaged to grab and go. Harvey has several relationships with Virginia farmers, including Seven Hills Foods in Lynchburg, and Sylvanaqua Farms in Virginia’s Northern Neck, and will offer proprietary items featured exclusively in the market.

Salt Line oysters
Photo courtesy of Salt Line

The Salt Line Ballston

Address: 4040 Wilson Blvd., Arlington
Opening date: Late September
The Salt Line, the popular Capitol Riverfront spot that pays tribute to New England’s iconic oyster houses, will open a second location in Arlington’s Ballston neighborhood in September. Executive Chef Matt Singer will lead the kitchen in partnership with Long Shot Hospitality chef and partner Kyle Bailey, who will bring his own culinary influences to the menu.

Guests can expect the same New England classics found at the restaurant’s Navy Yard location in addition to housemade pasta, an expanded selection of crudo, and daily lunch service. The 3,800-square-foot space will include more booths in response to COVID-conscious guest requests for added space, as well as a large patio and bar and lounge area for ample outdoor seating.

Philotimo

Address: 1100 15th St. NW, Downtown
Opening date: October
Chef Nicholas Stefanelli, who is behind the trattoria, cafe, and market at The Wharf dubbed Officina and the Michelin-starred tasting room experience at Masseria, will present a new restaurant concept around Greek cuisine this fall. The restaurant will open at the Midtown Center complex—a mixed-use office and retail environment popular with the 9-to-5 crowd that also includes hit New Orleans-style restaurant, Dauphine’s, and will welcome others later this year.

The restaurant is slated for an October opening and will import specialty cheeses, wild herbs, and olive oil, plus highlighted food and wines representing Greek regions from Thessaloniki to the island of Crete.

Unido Coffee Roastery
Photo by Rey Lopez

Unido Coffee Roastery

Address: 550 Penn Street, NE, Union Market
Opening date: October
Unido Roastery comes from the team behind Cafe Unido (located inside La Cosecha, the Latin American marketplace near Union Market). They are expanding and opening a coffee roastery at the Dolcezza Factory space. Café Unido will be committed to roasting and serving exclusively Panamanian coffee beans, including the exclusive and coveted geisha variety. The team develops deep relationships with farmers across the country, sourcing beans from volcanic, oceanic, and highland climates for a diverse array of flavors.

The Roastery will be overseen by head roaster Benito Bermúdez. The centerpiece of the space will be a 12-seat cupping station and two drip coffees available, Unido’s signature blend and a rotating single varietal.

Expect food served by the award-winning Panamanian chef Mario Castrellon. He riffed off burgers at Unido’s cafes in Panama, fine tuning his signature to play off the classic with American cheese. The burger is accented with a cascara ketchup—with a fruity, but also savory like barbecue sauce—made from the dried skins of coffee cherries.
 

Newland

Address:327 7th Street, SE, Eastern Market
Opening date: November/December
On Capitol Hill, the former Montmartre restaurant space is slated to be a homecoming of sorts for chef Andrew Markert, who currently runs Fight Club and Beuchert’s Saloon, located about a block away on Pennsylvania Avenue. Newland will be his marquee restaurant, and it’s named for the street in Baltimore where Markert grew up.

Guests will experience a taste of his mother and father's cooking—being a Marylander that obviously means crab, but also rockfish and other Mid-Atlantic seafood, with cooking techniques that will lean on Markert’s expertise in classic French and Italian techniques. The menu will be locally-sourced and divided into five categories: farm (vegetables), grain (freshly made pastas and rice dishes) , sea, land, and treats (dessert). Mackenzie Conway (also from Beuchert’s) will curate a wine-focused program that highlights underrepresented wines, as well as classic styles from lesser-known producers.

Petite Cerise

Shaw
Address: 1027 7th Street, NW
Opening date: November/December
From the Michelin-starred team at The Dabney, Petite Cerise will be Jeremiah Langhorne and Alex Zink’s take on an all-day, French-inspired restaurant. As self-proclaimed Francophiles, Langhorne and Zink have always toyed with the idea of opening a French restaurant, but Petite Cerise, which means “little cherry,” is far from your run-of-the-mill bistro.

The menu promises fresh market cooking, well-executed simple plates, and lesser-known regional French specialties. The very best in local ingredients, much like those found at The Dabney, will be available alongside a unique selection of authentic French imports. Additionally, the team has made it their mission to have the best croissant and baguette in town. All will be complemented by a completely French wine list and a seasonal cocktail menu.

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Tim Ebner is an award-winning food, drink, and travel writer. He lives on Capitol Hill and has a weakness for Old Bay Seasoning. Follow him on Twitter: @TimEbner