Lighting a Fire at matchbox Ignites National Expansion Plans

BC Steak & SHrimp

BC Steak & SHrimp

National expansion plans are being strategically developed, under the guidance of matchboxfoodgroup’s first Chief Operations Officer, Peter D’Amelio. Peter was President and COO at Cheesecake Factory which grew from four restaurants (as a manager) to 143 during his tenure. In his last year as president, he opened 23 units. Lighting a fire at matchbox!

Chef Jeff Tunks, Gus DiMillo and David Wizenberg of Passion Food Hospitality plan to open Penn Commons, a sister operation of their Foggy Bottom restaurant, District Commons. It will be located at 6th and H in the vibrant Penn Quarter and offer a similar menu with the addition of 40 beers on tap. Penn Quarter is not new to them, as they opened Ten Penh there 15 years ago. A summer 2014 opening is planned.

Christophe and Michelle Poteaux plan to open a new restaurant in Alexandria’s North Old Town neighborhood not far from their popular Bastille restaurant in Old Town. They refer to it now as Bastille 2.0. Bastille will be re-named Bistro Royal (since it is on N. Royal Street) and will be re-vamped. The new restaurant will serve lunch and dinner restaurant and offer private dining space, outdoor patio and a wine bar. Michelle will be able to show off her pastry skills to a greater extent at the 100-seat restaurant. Mark Slater, will run the wine and beverage program at both restaurants, which should be ready by early 2015.

BC Steak and Silver Birch Bar, a Canadian ski lodge-themed steakhouse (with a separate bar & lounge area), will open where Bugaboo Creek Steakhouse used to be in Gaithersburg.

Quick Hits: Boston-based Chef Michael Schlow, a “Top Chef Masters” alumnus, plans to open Latin concept, TICO restaurant, in May 2014 at in the ever popular 14th Street corridor … Ted’s Bulletin in Merrifield is planning an early 4th Quarter 2014 opening … Starting this month, Roofers Union in Adams Morgan will open its third floor – aka roof deck … Legal Sea Foods returns to Reagan National Airport in May. They will take over where TGI Fridays was … Eli Hengst and Jared Rager of Sonoma will take over the spot where Pour House is now (until April 30) at 319 Pennsylvania Ave SE (one block away) to open a new restaurant … Bloomingdale gets a new Mexican restaurant, El Camino, at 108 Rhode Island Ave, NW. Owners also have 1905 Restaurant in Shaw … The Neighborhood Restaurant Group plans to open a new concept – restaurant and beer garden – at the Pike & Rose’s Muse Alley section in Rockville in 2015. Rachael Ewing was named Whiskey Sommelier at Ri RA Irish Pub in Georgetown. She was previously at Jack Rose Dining Saloon.

Boss Shepherd’s slated to open at 13th and D in The Warner Building where John Harvard’s Brew House formerly resided. The new owner Paul Cohn, a Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award recipient, is renowned for operating successful restaurants. We’re looking at a second quarter opening.

Fine dining comes to Ashburn, when a new steakhouse, DC Prime, opens in the Lakeview at University Center project (Route 7 & Loudoun County Pkwy). Owners also include in their Craig Group of RestaurantsTravinia Italian Kitchen (open in Leesburg and Woodbridge) , Arizona’s Southwestern Grill and Arizona’s Steakhouse, mainly in southeastern U.S.

Mastro’s, an upscale steakhouse and seafood restaurant will open where M&S Grill used to be at 13th & F Streets, NW. Houston-based Landry’s, owners of M&S Grill (as well as Morton’s Steakhouse, McCormick & Schmick’s), purchased Scottsdale-based Mastro’s.

Richard Sandoval plans join the CityCenterDC restaurant offerings with Mango Tree, an upscale Thai restaurant. It’s a collaboration between Sandoval and Coca Restaurants, a Thailand-based group with several restaurant concepts in Europe and Asia. The original Mango Tree is in London.  This will be their first restaurant in the U.S. Sandoval has six restaurants open in D.C. and El Centro in Shaw to open later this year. Also slated to open in CityCenterDC is Daniel Boulud’s DBGB and Meredith Tomason’s Raresweets bakery.

Mike Isabella plans to open his second Graffiato this spring in Richmond, Va. on W. Broad Street where Popkin Tavern used to be. His partners are Travis Croxton, owner of Rappahannock Oyster Co. and his DC Graffiato partner, Hilda Staples.

Justin Ross, owner of Justin’s Café, along with business partners Jeffrey Gross, Erik Kudla and Michael Green plan to open The Big Stick, a beer and sausage bar (house-made bratwurst) and restaurant at 20 M Street SE across the street from the Navy Yard Metro station, and not all that far from Justin’s Café. It’s positioned to appeal to Nationals fans heading to the stadium. The Big Stick is named for baseball bats as well as a reference to Teddy Roosevelt (who never wins the Presidents races at Nats Park). The beer list will be extensive, from craft beers to European to American favorites.

Chef/owner Dean Gold of Dino Restaurant and Enoteca in DC’s Cleveland Park neighborhood is moving that restaurant across town this spring to a Shaw row house on 9thSt NW, where Portico Hookah used to be. It will be renamed Dino’s Grotto and will serve about 120 people on two floors. The lower level will feature a large communal table, a bar and tables. The first floor will also feature a bar and table seating. An April opening is targeted.

Librarian Bill Perry has always been a home brewer; now he plans to open a brewpub called The Public Option at 1601 Rhode Island Ave. NE. He received an $85,000 Great Streets Grant from DC Office of Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development to grow and support small businesses in underdeveloped neighborhoods. The menu will emphasize locally sourced food with vegetarian options. It’s most interesting feature may be that waitstaff will not accept tips; they will be paid a “living wage” of $15 per hour. Any tips left will go directly to a charity. A late 3rd Quarter /early 4th Quarter opening is planned.

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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