Washington, D.C. chef and restaurateur Mike Isabella announced Isabella Eatery, an unprecedented restaurant project at Tysons Galleria set to open in summer 2017. Mike Isabella Concepts (MIC) will take over the space in McLean, Virginia, becoming the sole proprietor of the 41,000-square-foot dining complex that occupies a portion of the upscale Northern Virginia mall’s third floor. Made up of nine distinct eateries and a cocktail bar, Isabella Eatery will include returning Mike Isabella Concepts favorites, like Yona and Pepita, as well as brand-new concepts such as a gourmet coffee shop and a classic ice cream parlor. Unlike many other chef-driven projects in commercial spaces, Isabella will not be operating through a management agreement, but will instead be opening as a leaseholder.
“This is by far the biggest project we’ve ever taken on,” Isabella says, “But I think we are uniquely positioned to succeed here. All our great Mike Isabella Concepts chefs are on board and bringing their individual perspectives and flavors to Isabella Eatery. Each of our other openings and events have paved the way for this.”
[Read more from Mike Isabella in our January Q&A.]
An executive chef and general manager, both yet to be named, will oversee the high-end food emporium’s 10 concepts and 10,000-square-foot kitchen. Isabella Eatery’s individual concepts will offer a mix of dine-in, carryout, and specialty retail items. The space will include unified table service for several of the concepts in a nearly 300-seat common area, including versions of Yona, Requin, and Pepita, as well as a cocktail bar and Spanish concept Arroz. A version of Isabella’s Italian-inspired restaurant, Graffiato, a coffee shop, an ice cream parlor, and an enclosed Mediterranean grill will also be among the dining options. In addition to the common and enclosed dining areas, the food emporium will include lounge-style seats bringing total available seating across all concepts to about 600. Isabella Eatery will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Non-Fiction Coffee will begin serving cups of joe at 6 a.m.
Isabella Eatery will be composed of 10 individual concepts, including new locations for pre-existing Mike Isabella Concepts restaurants, as well as completely original dining options.
The emporium’s common area will be served by:
- Arroz – The first Spanish concept from MIC will showcase a menu of tapas, paella, and cured meats.
- Octagon Bar – Located near the center of the dining area, Octagon Bar will overhang the Mall’s lower level and serve an extensive list of prohibition-style classic cocktails.
- Pepita – A sister to the original cantina in Arlington, Virginia, Pepita will serve Mexican dishes like tacos, nachos, and quesadillas. The full-service bar will also offer a small Mexican beer selection, classic, and frozen margaritas.
- Requin Raw Bar – The emporium’s raw bar will serve a variety of oysters, seafood cocktails, and crab cakes along with a selection of Champagnes and white wines. Caviar and cured fish will also be available for retail purchase.
- Yona – A sister to the original location in Arlington, Virginia, this Japanese/Korean noodle bar will focus on quick and easy meals, with a menu highlighted by ramen, poke, and donburri rice bowls
The Isabella Eatery concepts with enclosed or dedicated seating will be:
- Graffiato – Isabella’s flagship Italian restaurant comes to Tysons Galleria with a selection of Graffiato favorites, along with a new list of panini and a thick-crust style of pizza that is a cross between traditional Sicilian and focaccia pizza.
- Kapnos Marketa – This marketplace will offer house-made Greek staples and spit-roasted meat for take-home dining only. Greek spreads and specialty items like taramasalata, melitzanosalata, dolmades, salads, and phyllo pies will be wrapped and available to-go, along with lamb, pork, and chicken sold by the pound.
- Non-Fiction Coffee – The first coffee shop from MIC will feature beans from artisan roasters in a casual, lounge-like environment. Non-Fiction will also serve sandwiches, soups, salads, pastries, and fresh juices.
- Retro Creamery – This creamery will be a modern take on ice cream parlors and soda shops of the 1950s. Think egg creams, floats, and ice cream available by the scoop in brightly lit display cases. Ice cream will also be sold in pre-packed cartons.
- Trim – This upscale, full-service enclosed restaurant will feature a menu of Mediterranean small plates and grill favorites. Since this space will function like a traditional restaurant in an enclosed dining space, guests will not have access to the full Isabella Eatery menu. Trim will also be available for private events.
Designed by Streetsense, Isabella Eatery will be the product of a top-to-bottom renovation of the current food court and third floor of Tysons Galleria. Each concept will have its own unique look, and the area as a whole will be marked by dramatic and lush architectural and design elements. Exterior changes include an escalator that leads guests into an atrium-like space where Non-Fiction Coffee Bar will be located. The kitchen, which is larger than many full-service restaurants, will be an architectural undertaking of its own, able to serve all the Isabella Eatery concepts.
Individual design elements will include an atrium-like space with a green wall and trees adjacent to Non-Fiction Coffee Bar, a Washington-area map painted by a local artist over exposed brick, and dramatic lighting fixtures transforming the space. Octagon Bar, a large suspended central cocktail bar, will be a main focal point seen from all levels of Tysons Galleria. Natural wood and complementary geometric patterns inspired by classic D.C. architecture are unifying elements of the design, which aims for both comfort and visual sophistication. These spaces will be adorned with several different and unique seating groups, so guests will be able to choose their own dining and/or cocktailing experience.
Most of the dining spaces will be accented with colorful and inspiring artwork by local artists. This will be a truly curated space, with deep roots connected to the soul of the city.