Gresser Goes for ‘Speed’ Casual at Veloce by Pizza Paradiso

Re-vitalized chef/owner Ruth Gresser is going fast casual. She plans to open Veloce by Pizza Paradiso, leveraging her incomparable 23-year-old Pizza Paradiso brand. This quick-serve pizza concept is slated to open by the end of 1Q in downtown DC at 1828 L St, NW. Veloce (means “speed” in Italian) will offer personal pizzas with a variety of personal choice toppings cooked in gas-powered ovens for just two minutes. Lunch and carryout will be offered at the 30-seat place, which includes an outdoor patio. Will there be an app for that?

Openings Update: Christophe and Michelle Poteaux’s iconic French restaurant, Bastille, will re-locate to N. Fayette and Pendleton Streets in Old Town, Alexandria. It’s larger than its current N. Royal Street location, which will transform into Bistrot Royal, serving classic French cuisine. The new Bastille will serve lunch and dinner restaurant and offer private dining space, an outdoor patio and a wine bar. The pastry kitchen will be based there, allowing Michelle the space to create more amazing desserts for both restaurants, as well as custom cakes to order. Mark Slater will continue to run the wine and beverage program at both restaurants, which should open in January.

Just Opened: City Perch Kitchen + Bar restaurant inside the iPic movie theater in Rockville’s Pike & Rose complex: the chef at the helm is Matt Baker, formerly of Brasserie Beck and Occidental Grill Thip Khao, a Laotian restaurant, opened at 3264 14th Street where Thaitanic was in Columbia Heights. Chef Seng Luangrath was formerly at Bangkok Golden in Falls Church, which offered Thai and Laotian menus. Thip Khao translates to “sticky rice basket” … Plan B opened at 801 Pennsylvania Ave serving 20 varieties of burgers in the Market Square West building.

Mike Isabella (heart) Ballston. He plans to open a Mexican cantina, Pepita, at 4000 Wilson Blvd, which also houses Kapnos Taverna, another Isabella restaurant. The focus of Pepita is on the bar, meaning there may be up to 40 cocktails, many of them featuring tequila or mescal. Pepita will feature a limited menu of Mexican bar food. Mike will partner with Jonah Kim, most recently chef at the now closed PABU in Baltimore, plans to open Yona, an Asian noodle bar in the same Ballston building as Kapnos Taverna and Pepita. Yona will be the first restaurant where Isabella is purely a business partner. Kapnos Taverna is slated to open in 4Q 2014; Pepita in 1Q 2015; Yona is 2Q 2015. Another Kapnos is slated to in Bethesda where Vapiano was.

Chaia vegetarian taco founders Bettina Stern and Suzanne Simon signed a lease for a brick-and-mortar store at 3207 Grace St. NW in Georgetown. Chaia built their following at farm markets. Chaia plans to serve lunch Tuesday through Friday, brunch Saturday and Sunday, and dinner Tuesday through Sunday. The two-story space is slated to open in June of 2015.

Amy Brandwein plans to open Centrolina, her own 64-seat Italian restaurant at CityCenterDC in Q2 2015. Amy developed her Italian cooking talents working with Roberto Donna, and most recently worked at Alba Osteria in NoMa. Centrolina will also offer an Italian market with ready-to-go food and house-made pasta in the 4,075-sq-ft space. The regional, Italian menu will be complemented by an Italian wine list and local beer list. In warmer months, outdoor seating on the patio will be available.

And speaking of Alba Osteria, owned by Hakan Ilhan, his next restaurant will be Ottoman Taverna, opening in the same building as Alba Osteria in the Mt. Vernon Triangle area. It will be a full-service Turkish restaurant and is slated to open next fall. The 200-seat traditional Turkish restaurant will also seat 60 on an outdoor patio. It will feature a wood-burning oven. It will join Hakan’s other Mt Vernon Triangle operation, L’Hommage Bistro Francais. Hakan believes in that neighborhood.

More CityCenterDC restaurant openings: Fig & Olive, the Mediterranean restaurant from French chef Pascal Lorange, who was personal chef to pop star Julio Iglesias, is slated to open in 2015. His first Fig & Olive opened in New York (now there are three) as well as in California and Chicago.

Teddy Folkman plans to open Baroak Cookhouse & Taproom in the Loews Annapolis Hotel. Teddy is chef/owner of Granville Moore’s on H Street NE. The Baroak will offer casual fare. Jeremy Kermisch will take on more chef responsibilities as Teddy splits his time between DC and Annapolis. Bo Blair plans to open Due South, a new Southern fare restaurant in The Yards’ Lumber Shed where Osteria Morini and Agua 301 are located. Bo is expanding into that SE corridor as he also runs The Bullpen at The Fairgrounds outside of Nationals Park. A spring 2015 opening is planned.

When Dog Tag Bakery opens in Georgetown, it includes a partnership with Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies, whereby wounded veterans split their time between learning how to run a business in a classroom setting and on-the-job training — baking, brewing and managing operations. Father Richard Curry and Connie Milstein are founders, both with a philanthropic history of supporting the military. The Brig, a Bavarian beer garden, is slated to open in lower Barracks Row at 1007 8th St at L St SE. It will seat 210 and serve 299. Alan Gaunoux has partnered with Mark Brody and Chris Chambers of Biergarten Haus on this project.

Chef & GM Update: Pastry chef extraordinaire Beverly Bates is now at Vidalia Helen Bowen is the general manager of Chuy’s Springfield Nancy Sears was named restaurant manager for Bistrot Royal, slated to open in North Old Town, Alexandria in January.

About the Author

Linda Roth is president of Linda Roth Associates, Inc. specializing in marketing, promotions and publicity in the hospitality industry. Contact Linda at 202-888-3571 or or visit her website at

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