Washington, D.C., chef Nicholas Stefanelli is opening Officina later this month, a three-story destination for Italian cuisine in the city's massive new waterfront complex, the Wharf. Officina will occupy 14,000 square feet, with a market on the first floor, a trattoria-style restaurant on the second floor and a rooftop bar with an adjacent private-event space. The market will include a wine shop, butcher, bakery, pizzeria, gelato bar and more.
Stefanelli is known for the elegant Italian tasting menus at his Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence winner Masseria, but he's bringing a more approachable vibe to this project. "It's simple, it's beautiful, it's rustic, and it's a place that you could eat at every day," said Stefanelli.
The trattoria will serve grilled meats, classic pastas and more, using ingredients from the purveyors in the market downstairs. Beverage director John Filkins built the 550-selection wine list, which is entirely Italian with the exception of a Champagne section. The list will also be available on the rooftop bar.
Officina will host various events and programs throughout the space, such as a wine-dinner series highlighting different Italian regions. This is all part of Stefanelli's goal to create a go-to spot for every occasion, from grabbing groceries at the market to enjoying a full dinner in the restaurant.—J.H.
Best of Award of Excellence winner Galatoire's in New Orleans has a new executive chef, Phillip Lopez, who now helms the kitchen at both the Louisiana institution and its sister restaurant, Galatoire's 33 Bar and Steak.
Co-owner Bill Kearney told Wine Spectator that Lopez, who previously worked at the now-closed Square Root, is a "creative culinary genius" with a particularly deep appreciation for wine. Kearney is looking forward to seeing the chef's influence on the wine program as well as the restaurant's regular wine dinners. Lopez replaced Michael Sichel, who held the position for seven years, but diners can still expect favorites like the bouillabaisse and shrimp etouffée.—J.H.
On Sept. 14, Boston's Columbus Hospitality Group—which owns Restaurant Award winners Sorellina, Mistral, Mooo and Ostra—is bringing regional French classics to a small space in the South End neighborhood. Bar Lyon will pay homage to the namesake French city, whose cuisine chef Jamie Mammano was inspired by.
"Lyon is the city where all the legendary chefs came from and really established all the great traditions of that country that have informed the food culture worldwide," beverage director David Borsman told Wine Spectator. "[The team] is harkening back to the foundational aspects of cuisine." The menu will feature quintessential bistro fare like chicken-liver pâté, duck confit and omelets for dinner.
Borsman says Bar Lyon emulates a "bouchon Lyonnais," which he describes as a "traditional French bistro that you can go to any night of the week, get a delicious classic meal and a beautiful bottle of wine without turning it into an occasion." The all-French wine list at Bar Lyon reflects this, representing a broad range of regions like Burgundy and the Rhône while staying affordable—few bottles cost more than $100, and 18 wines are available by the glass. The restaurant will open with 50 selections and will soon expand with a list called "cellar selections," which will have more depth and an expanded price range, but with some attractive markups in certain regions.—J.H.
Ballyhoo Hospitality, the group behind Award of Excellence winner Coda di Volpe, opened Walton Street Kitchen + Bar in Chicago this week. The two-level concept features a cocktail lounge on the first floor and a restaurant upstairs, serving classic American fare with global touches, led by executive chef Jon Keeley.
The 110-selection wine list has 17 by-the-glass options, and highlights small-production, family-owned wineries that employ organic practices. "My goal is to present our guests with a list that features excellent examples of wines produced throughout the world—both Old World and New—as well as alternative grape varieties in an effort to encourage them to try wines beyond their comfort zone," said wine director Stephanie Brauer.—B.G.
ALX Gastropub in San Francisco is the first casual concept from the team behind the two Best of Award of Excellence–winning Alexander's Steakhouse locations in California. The kitchen will be headed by executive chef Jessie Lugo.
Wine director Barry Horton will maintain the restaurant group's commitment to well-curated wine lists with the gastropub's 60-selection, California-focused list, which has 26 by-the-glass options ranging from $12 to $45. "Using our name ALX, I put together a by-the-glass 'Approachable' section, 'Lavish' section and an 'Xtravagant' section," said Horton. "I think we will be seeing a much broader range of people in terms of what they might want for a glass of wine."—B.G.
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