Heading East, Well, NE for Ari Gejdenson

Ari Gejdenson is headed east – actually NE. He has signed a lease at the corner of Fenwick and Okie streets NE in the Hecht’s warehouse project with the intension of opening an Italian restaurant and two other restaurants concepts. Ari owns Acqua al 2 on Capitol Hill, Ghibellina on 14th Street and shortly, Sotto, a restaurant and bar underneath Ghibellina. He also plans to open Denson’s Liquor Bar in Chinatown. Ari is a DC (Capitol Hill) native as well as a former Italian professional soccer player. He expects to open by the end of 2015 in this Douglas Development project that will include over 300 residential units.

Chef & GM Update: Ralf Schlegel is the new executive chef at the Jefferson Hotel, including Plume restaurant and Quill lounge. The German native previously worked at Marcel’s in DC, and before that at German and Austrian restaurants and hotels … Rahsaan Stone is the general manager at the recently opened Del Frisco’s Grille at the new Pike & Rose neighborhood in North Bethesda. He joins the Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group after spending the last decade working for J. Alexander’s, another prominent restaurant group. Executive chef Cody Lynch, former chef at McCormick & Schmick’s in Crystal City, will lead the Grille’s culinary team … Chef Scott Kroener, who opened the first Del Frisco’s Grille in NYC has rejoined the restaurant group as executive chef of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle DC at the new CityCenterDC … Helen Bowen, who was the general manager of Chuy’s Arbor Trails in Austin, Texas has relocated to Northern Virginia as general manager of Chuy’s Springfield, the second NoVA outpost of the iconic Tex Mex chain, opening this October.

New York-based chef Alex Garcia who is also known as the host of “The Melting Pot” on the Food Network, will open one of his AG Kitchen locations in downtown Silver Spring next spring. The big restaurant (7,700 square feet) will serve both American and Latin dishes. The new restaurant will seat 180 (plus patio seating) for brunch, lunch and dinner.

The Hilton brothers plan to open Chez Billy Sud in Georgetown in the space where Café LaRuche has been on 31st Street NW. The menu will be more focused on dishes from the South of France than its predecessor. The other unique aspect of this location for the Hilton brothers in Georgetown in that they will also serve lunch – a first for them. Chez Billy Sud will serve brunch on Saturday and Sunday. An expanded pastry program is also part of the French restaurant expansion.

Pennsylvania’s Victory Brewing Co. plans to open Victory at Courthouse Square, a brewpub in the former Loudoun Times-Mirror headquarters on East Market Street in Leesburg. It will be big — 13,400-square-foot restaurant will seat 300. This will be the first Victory brewpub outside of Pennsylvania.

Blue Ridge Restaurant Group’s Stanford Grill plans to open a 400-seat restaurant at in Rockville in a building owned by Lerner Enterprises and The Tower Cos. The restaurant group also owns four locations of Copper Canyon Grill, three in Maryland and one in Orlando. Michael Wagner, new executive chef for Blue Ridge Restaurant Group, is designing its menu.

Chicago-based Mercadito Hospitality is owned and operated by Richard Sandoval’s three brothers, who plan to make their Latin American restaurant mark in DC, as Richard has. Their flagship concept, Mercadito, will open in the Marriott Marquis Washington D.C. A December opening is planned for the upscale casual Mexican restaurant. The hotel restaurant scene is not foreign to them, as Mercadito Las Vegas is in the Red Rock Casino and Resort..

Just Opened: Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House at CityCenterDC in downtown DC opened last month with 12,000 bottles of wine with 400 seats on three levels. There is currently a Del Frisco’s Grille in downtown DC near the District Building. Both are owned and operated by Dallas-based Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group … Noodles & Company opened a new location in Laurel, Md. last month. It is their 25th location in Maryland … Walrus Oyster and Ale House just opened at National Harbor with a seafood-heavy menu designed by consulting chef Bob Kinkead, formerly of Kinkead’s in Foggy Bottom and now of Campono and the soon-to-open-newly-renovated Ancora in the Watergate …The POV at the W Hotel has reopened.

Quick Hits: Ted’s BULLETIN will open at the Mosaic District in Merrifield, Va. on October 6 serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and their famous milkshakes (as seen in Parade magazine) … Baked & Wired bakery in Georgetown has its sights set on Mount Vernon Triangle, as they have signed a lease for a 4,231 square foot space at the Lyric 440 K apartment building at 4th and K streets NW. This location will focus more heavily on breads than pastries … Mike Isabella will open Kapnos Taverna at 4000 Wilson Blvd, as a more seafood-centric version of the original Kapnos … Phil Rodriguez and Tony Lucca’s El Camino is slated to open this month at 108 Rhode Island Ave, NW … Jose Andres’ China Chilcano is slated to open in late fall at 418 7th Street, NW in Penn Quarter in the old Olsson’s bookstore space … Oki Ramen is slated to open at 1817 M St. NW in Dupont Circle.

Dupont Circle, Capitol Hill, Chinatown and Rockville are slated to be the next locations (in addition to the ones being built in Germantown, Gaithersburg and Springfield) for &pizza after founders Steve Salis and Michael Lastoria raised $1.9 million in new investment. That’s not counting Reagan National and Dulles International airports.

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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