Downtown Restaurant Update

Friday, January 4, 2013

By DowntownDC

Fans of Panera Bread are happy to know the bakery-café shop opened in Chinatown at 673 H Street on January 3. It’s the first space to open in the renovated Douglas Development Corporation (702 H Street) project on the northeast corner of 7th and H streets and the first Panera located in Downtown. Joining the café soon: Taylor Gourmet (624 E Street), West Wing Café (1 Thomas Circle) and Dunkin’ Donuts (1101 14th Street)—all of which plan to open early this year.

Expect a winter or early March opening for Taylor Gourmet. The deli offers authentic, Italian-style hoagies using artisanal cured meats and fine aged cheeses imported from Italy. A cute twist: its sandwiches are named for streets in Philadelphia, land of the hoagie. West Wing Café, which could open as early as next month, also offers fine meats and cheeses and fresh breads. Both delis will provide catering services and Taylor Gourmet also delivers.

Now that Dunkin’ Donuts is expanding its presence beyond the Verizon Center (601 F Street), expect to satisfy your sugar cravings at its new Midtown location. In actuality, though, you will have several options in which to indulge your sweet tooth. Besides all the cupcake and bakery stores around, two other doughnut shops are coming—Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken (1308 G Street) and District Doughnut, currently negotiating a lease in Chinatown.

Less than two weeks before Christmas, the Cosi located at 1275 K Street closed its doors. Although shuttered, the chain has five other locations in Downtown. They are: 1001 Pennsylvania Avenue, 1333 H Street, 1501 K Street, 601 Pennsylvania Avenue, and 700 11th Street.

Did you know the Caucus Room (401 9th Street) has a new name? It’s called the Social Reform Kitchen and Bar. The front half of the restaurant is more accessible and open now, offering more small plates and fish dishes and a menu that changes seasonally. The restaurant still offers private caucus rooms, bipartisan burgers and, of course, steak, served with one of its signature sauces. Although the name change took place last summer, the awning still bears the old name. Not for long, we’re told. Meanwhile, celebrity chef Mike Isabella is rolling out a fun, new way to spend the night at Graffiato (707 6th Street), his Italian restaurant. Beginning on Monday, January 7, he will open the pizza bar to friends, who will serve late-night snacks and cocktail specials from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Industry Takeover Nights, as it’s called, will take place on the first Monday of each month. Seating will be offered on a first come first serve basis, so mark your calendar!