Subway Café expands
A new Subway Café opens in the District today at 455 Massachusetts Ave. NW.
The Café is the company’s fast-casual dining concept that aims to offer patrons a more relaxed atmosphere and broader menu selection. Unlike the standard Subway shop, the Subway Cafés have comfortable seating, televisions, WiFi, and a menu that features upscale coffee drinks, gelato, and gourmet sandwiches. The original Subway menu is also available. The concept was launched two years ago with the first store opening in Alexandria at 2361 Eisenhower Ave. The idea for the café originated from requests from customers from nearby office buildings who wanted the option of choosing between Subway’s original menu and more upscale items. Alan Warmund, president of Subway Development of Washington, says Subway isn’t know for espresso, gelato, and Wifi, but if the concept proves successful in the D.C. area, that could change. Franchise owner Hee Lee says that business has been steady since his Alexandria store opened in 2008. The company plans to open 30 to 40 more cafés within the next year, mainly around metropolitan areas with office buildings. Lee says his second Subway Café is under construction and is expected to opened in a couple of months at 320 King St.
Zpizza giving away free pizza
Zpizza is promoting its new Rustica line of exotic, personalized pizzas by offering customers a buy one, get one free deal from now until Jan. 31. The hand-tossed pizzas are made with 100 percent organic wheat dough and fire-baked until crisp. Zpizza founder Sid Fanarof says the new line is healthier and offers unique flavor combinations inspired by dishes from India, Morocco, France, and Italy. A few options include curry chicken and yam, pear and gorgonzola, and Moroccan. During the promotional period, members of the chain’s ztribe loyalty program will get the $8.95 Rustica for free, and customers who sign up to join ztribe will get a complimentary Rustica with any purchase. The California-based pizza chain has several locations in the D.C. metro area.
Palena reopened last Wednesday after undergoing renovations and an expansion into the former Magruder’s space next door. Chef Frank Ruta’s Cleveland Park restaurant and cafe now includes 100 additional seats in the dining room, an updated look for the cafe, and a wood burning oven and grill. The new space also includes the addition of Palena Market, which is expected to open in a couple of weeks. The market will feature coffee, pastries, and to-go food. (h/t Y&H)
• Photos: Palena’s new dining room, cafe and kitchen (Y&H)
In other food and restaurant news...
• According to Fred Foodie, rumor has it that Bryan Voltaggio of Volt may be in the planning stages of opening up a casual dining concept. Where do you think it’ll be? Meanwhile, Michael Voltaggio has announced plans to open up a restaurant of his own in Los Angeles called Ink. (Eater)
• David Guas talks about his experience on Iron Chef America. (Washingtonian)
• The University of Maryland has started the nation’s first competitive eating club. Club founder and president Keith Solomon says the club got started when he and his friends realized that their university meal plans had an expiration date. Solomon has recruited about 30 members and has drafted a club constitution. He says that he’s trying to spur competitive eating at other colleges so they can compete against other teams. Their motto is “Feed the Turtle,” a spin-off of the University’s “Fear the Turtle” motto. Chow down, Terps! (AOL News)
• Funxion is looking to extend its hours. According to a liquor license application, the health-conscience restaurant and bar at 1309 F St. NW has proposed to increase its hours of operation so that it’s open 24 hours a day. (PoP)
• The Westover community wants to add a farmers market in the area. Advocates say the neighborhood’s changing demographics make it ideal for a market. (TBD)
• Food writer Jane Black and her husband Brent Cunningham published an op-ed on how food is the latest front in the culture wars. “For the good-food revolution to have a chance, people have to make finding and preparing fresh food a priority at a time when everything about our modern food system urges us not to bother.” (Washington Post)
• The five stupidest questions people asked the Butterball Turkey Hotline (The Consumerist)
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• Metrocurean: My favorite ginger ale
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• Florida Girl in DC: What I’ve been eating: Trotters Tots at Dino
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Plan Ahead -- This week’s food and drink events
• Nov. 30 -- Spirit of the Festival
• Dec. 1 -- D.C. Food Bloggers Happy Hour
• Dec. 1 -- Latke and Sparkling Wine Tasting at Cork Market
• Dec. 1 -- ONE Holiday Party
• Dec. 2 -- Hanukkah Celebration at Uptown Deli
• Dec. 2 -- Half-price beer and wine happy hour at Barcode
• Zpizza: Buy one Rustica, get one free (till Jan. 31)
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