We've been thinking about the Zola Wine & Kitchen space for a couple of days now. We know it was bought on Tuesday, and store employees have been telling people that it was bought by a "famous DC chef," with a few properties already in the area.
To us, that immediately implied Jose Andres, and we've already made our guesses about that.
But we remembered an old news item today - that Spike Mendlesohn had plans to open a steak frites place this summer.
Spike's sister Micheline, who was the one who leaked the tidbit to the Washington City Paper (via a letter to Michelle Obama, oddly enough) back in February, indicated that it will not be a fast-casual spot like Good Stuff and We, the Pizza. The space at Zola Wine & Kitchen would fit the bill pretty perfectly, and Penn Quarter hasn't been saturated in the steak frites market like it has with some other cuisines.
In terms of other DC celebrechefs, Michel Richard stands out - but to our knowledge he has no public plans for expansion within the district.
We'll mull it over this weekend and see if we can't get any more supporting evidence for our theory. Any theories of your own, readers?
5:15p UPDATE: Thanks to some intel from one of our amazing readers, we're told that scuttlebutt around Zola Wine & Kitchen on Wednesday was that the space will be used as the permanent location for Minibar (this makes sense, with the open kitchen). Perhaps Andres decided he needed the entire America Eats building for his offices (the previous plan was that Minibar and office space would split the building). The rushed transaction is probably to accommodate for America Eats' closing on July 4th of this year.