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For Chef Mike Isabella Super Fans – “Isabella Eatery, an unprecedented restaurant project at Tysons Galleria set to open in summer 2017”

by Prince Of Petworth February 10, 2016 at 10:35 am 28 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user nevermindtheend

From a press release:

“Washington, D.C. chef and restaurateur Mike Isabella announces Isabella Eatery, an unprecedented restaurant project at Tysons Galleria set to open in summer 2017. Mike Isabella Concepts (MIC) will take over the space at 2001 International Dr. in McLean, Va, 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 lease holder.

“This is by far the biggest project we’ve ever taken on,” Isabella said, “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.”

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 9am to 10pm, and Non-Fiction Coffee will begin serving cups of joe at 6am.


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, Va., 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, Va., 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 paninis 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.”

  • jcm

    So it’s a fancy food court?

    • PCC

      Yes, and replacing what was a fancy food court (Piazza Di Giorgio).

    • Alex

      What, you don’t want to eat tapas at the mall? But you can pay Mike Isabella $50 to still be hungry afterwards!

  • Anon

    Are there really Mike Isabella super-fans? His food is reliably mediocre.

    • +1, the only thing worse than his food is his personality.

      • Anonemuss

        You know him personally?

  • tom

    Sounds like a good project. I wish him the best of luck.

    But, I really wish he had picked a location in DT DC. I just can’t get excited about a weekend metro ride/$40 R/T Uber out to Tysons. I get that given our social history from the 60s-90s, Tyson’s is a thing and is not going anywhere. So I’m sure he will do well with the NoVa crowd. But for me, this is almost like reading about something that is opening in Baltimore. Regional, but not really local.

    • zeeeeee

      Gotta love the last line of the press release. “with deep roots connected to the soul of the city”. Not really sure when anyone has ever thought of Tyson’s Corner when talking about the “soul” of DC.

    • Philippe Lecheval

      Sorry. This is why I love owning a car.

      • Anon Spock

        +1 to that.

      • anon

        +1. DC without a car is only experiencing a small minority of the metro area. You are definitely isolating yourself. Plus, for non-attorneys at least, there are more jobs outside the district then within it.

        • shrug. I am not a lawyer, worked in VA, and never drove to work. And I rarely left the district. I only had a car because it was paid off so there was really no carrying cost. DC is definitely great without a car.

      • TX2DC


    • sproc

      Make a day of it, see a movie, do some shopping. The Silver line ride out there is really quite pleasant.

      • I Dont Get It

        So you are a Silver Line Truther? I don’t believe this line actually exists.

        • INDC

          Having taken the train out to Reston a couple of times (it really is like a day trip) I have to say the stations out there are very lovely indeed. Clean (for the time being) and the gates are luxuriously fast and whisper quiet. The pedestrian bridges are very nice, too, as you walk over a vast canyon of car lanes.

  • zeeeeee

    A few questions for Mr. Isabella:
    When are you going to start wearing orange crocs and stealing from your employees?
    How much are you paying your PR company? Hint: it’s too much
    Who advised you to call your upscale restaurant “Trim”? Maybe the worst name for a restaurant I have ever heard.

    • anon7

      Ha! Yeah, it sounds like a fancy strip club.

      • I Dont Get It

        Or a unisex barber shop.

  • Bob Rudderow

    Congratulations to a culinary visionary who has surpassed every chef with unique concepts, fantastic food and an organization that supports his executive chefs allowing them to concentrate what they do best.

    Mike Isabella’s master plan has made dinning fun and easy and will continue for many years because knows what his customers want.

    Any comments contrary are most probably from jealous competitors.

    I am looking forward to summer of 2017

    • nevermindtheend

      Hah – yeah, we should definitely take your word for it.

      Bob Rudderow is known throughout the direct mail industry as a pioneer in utilizing in-line manufacturing for fundraising and other direct mail campaigns. In 1979, Bob opened the Washington, DC sales offices of Webcraft, serving as regional Sales Manager. In 1983 and 1986 respectively, he opened the Miami and Greensboro sales offices. In 1986, he became senior VP of sales and marketing. “

      • textdoc


      • I Dont Get It

        Maybe “Bob Rudderow” impersonators are the latest thing?

    • Is dinning difficult? Why does it need to be made easier?

  • sproc

    You know, sometimes you just have to get out to the ‘burbs and mall it. I really wish they’d redo the crappy food court at Tysons Corner Center (the one with normal-people stuff unlike the Galleria) to be a lot more like the new one at the Montgomery Mall, which is really excellent.

  • katie

    URL ftw


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