Jan 5, 2024 - Food and Drink

Some of 2024's biggest D.C. restaurant openings are happening now

Pastis steak frites (left) and a croque madame

French bistro chic at Pastis. Photo: Pastis

A ton of exciting D.C.-area restaurants are slated to open this year — with a rush of big-time debuts happening in January and early February.

Why it matters: Everyone was talking closures at the end of 2023 — and we had a bunch — but there are many restaurateurs raring to open, from splashy out-of-towners to local talents and rising stars.

Between the lines: It's reflective of a cycle. Some operators cash in their chips late in the year as financial deadlines loom, while others wait through the holidays to open.

Hotly anticipated restaurants we're watching now:

🔥 Pascual: Ask industry folks what they're excited about, and it's this contemporary, wood-fired Mexican restaurant from the Popal Group and Lutèce chefs Matt Conroy and Isabel Coss.

  • The duo plans to bring a taste of Coss' native Mexico City — and the couples' Michelin-starred Mexican background — to Capitol Hill. A homey daytime café, Volcan, will open later. ETA: Jan.

🇫🇷 Pastis: Manhattan's celeb-magnet French bistro from restaurateurs Keith McNally and Stephen Starr will be reborn near Union Market with 250 seats, a glowy-chic look, and throwback indulgences like lobster frites and wiener schnitzel. ETA: Mid-Jan.

🍕 Aventino and AP Pizza Shop: Red Hen and All-Purpose chef Mike Friedman joins the D.C.-to-Bethesda expansion with a breezy, 130-seat bi-level restaurant with nods to Roman cuisine and dishes from the city's historic Jewish ghetto, such as crispy artichokes and his once off-menu cacio e pepe. ETA: Mid/late Jan.

  • Adjoining takeout counter AP will dish out deck-oven slices — a nod to the chef's New York and New Jersey roots — alongside creative pies and antipasti.

🐇 Moon Rabbit 2.0: After abruptly closing at The Wharf, chef Kevin Tien is reopening his upscale French-Vietnamese restaurant in a spacious Penn Quarter home. Goodbye, crawfish noodles, and hello to a whole new food and cocktail menu with family-style dishes, Vietnamese spirits, and sweets from pastry chef Susan Bae. ETA: Jan. 15

A bone-in beef rib with sauces from 2Fifty BBQ
2Fifty brings the meats. Photo: Rey Lopez

🍖 2Fifty Texas BBQ: The area's best 'cue joint is expanding from Riverdale, opening an all-wood smokehouse in Mt. Vernon Triangle (a rarity in D.C.). Pitmaster Fernando González and wife/business partner Debby Portillo will serve signatures like crave-able wagyu brisket, Tajin beans, and other "Central Texas-style BBQ with a bit of the tropics." ETA: Late Jan.

🥪 Your Only Friend: Mad sandwich scientists Paul Taylor and Sherra Kurtz are opening their dream bar in Shaw — a spinoff of their uber-popular pandemic pop-up. Shrettuce will crunch, meats will abound, and Duke's will flow like the cocktails. ETA: Jan.

🍷 Bar Del Monte: A casual Italian trattoria is bound for Mt. Pleasant from Oliver Pastan — son of 2 Amys Pizzeria chef Peter Pastan. The cozy space (formerly an auto shop) will run on oft-changing specials. ETA: Jan.

🇵🇭 Hiraya Restaurant: Filipino rising star chef Paolo Dungca (Bad Saint, Pogiboy) opened a welcoming H Street, NE café last year with comforting platters. He'll soon debut an ambitious second-floor dining room and cocktail bar that speaks to his fine dining background and Filipino roots. ETA: Late Jan.

🍽️ Reverie 2.0: After suffering a devastating fire on the heels of earning a Michelin star, chef Johnny Spero (Bar Spero) will reopen his ambitious Georgetown restaurant. Expect a renewed focus on sustainability, seafood, and plant-based offerings. ETA: Feb.

With many more to come…

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