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Ed. Note: The saga of a Wagamama coming to Penn Quarter was one of hope, tears, anguish, hope and ultimately tears. Bring back Olson’s some shout! Some of us are old. Some of us have no idea what we’re talking about. This is all true. And so chapter twelve begins…

From a press release:

“Leading international restaurant brand Wagamama will expand its U.S. presence with a Summer 2022 opening in Arlington’s Clarendon neighborhood. The 5,100 square foot restaurant, located at 2950 Clarendon Boulevard, will be the company’s first location in the Washington, D.C. region and will serve an array of fresh, cooked-to-order Asian-inspired bowls, curries, and creative craft cocktails during lunch and dinner services.

Wagamama first opened in London in 1992 and quickly hooked diners on its “bowl to soul” dining philosophy, which has spurred the company’s continuous expansion to over 200 locations in 27 countries. Read More


418 7th St, NW

Wagamama has long topped the list of biggest retail/restaurant teases since we first heard they were coming to the former Olson’s bookstore back in 2009. City Paper’s Jessica Sidman got confirmation this morning:

“Wagamama director of marketing Ingrid Williamson confirms to Y&H today that the restaurant will not be opening a restaurant in D.C. as originally planned.”

Fear not Penn Quarter – Daikaya Ramen Shop is still coming nearby.


Dear PoPville,

I’ve been confused and amused by the ongoing saga of Wagamama. I saw the door was open and there was a man inside cutting plywood. Seems like a baby step though, because the entire space was a concrete shell. It’s pretty much waiting for Godot at this point.

This def. looks promising compared to just a couple of weeks ago.

Wagamama will be, at some point, located at 418 7th St, NW in the former Olson’s bookstore.

418 7th St, NW


“Dear PoP,

Walking home from Hill Country yesterday I noticed that the proposed Wagamama spot has a new sign — Wagamama 2012. Do you or any of your readers know if this is for real? The last I heard was that they’d be opening in 2011, but that news barely had any buzz. I love Wagamama but I’m tired of these fakeouts!”

Back in Sept. ’10 we spoke about some of the biggest retail/restaurant teases we’ve experienced. Wagamama was high on the list. There is a whole Facebook page devoted to bringing them to DC. The Internationalist blog says:

“The Internationalist received confirmation today from Wagamama’s Nancy Barrett (U.S. Marketing Director) that the Penn Quarter location WILL open in 2012.”

Of course if you look at the storefront of the old Olson’s bookstore at 418 7th St, NW you can still see a desperate plea from a fan written under the coming soon sign (which used to say 2010):

“When, oh When?”


418 7th Street, NW

Remember Wagamama?

Back in October 2013 we learned that Jose Andres would be opening a new Chinese-Peruvian Restaurant, China Chilcano, in the former Olsson’s Bookstore and once hoped for Wagamama on 7th Street.

Their website says:

“The latest brainchild of chef José Andrés and his talented team, China Chilcano celebrates the rich culinary diversity of Peru and brings an exciting exploration of this multicultural cuisine to our nation’s capital. The restaurant celebrates Peru’s deeply rooted and diverse culinary heritage, including its native Criollo, Chinese Chifa and Japanese Nikkei cuisines; its name an homage to Peru’s celebrated fish stew and its popular national drink, the Chilcano.

At China Chilcano, Criollo exists in every single dish on the menu, whether it’s joined by Nikkei, with nigiri served on a bed of causa, a signature dish of puréed Peruvian potato, or Chifa, through a chaufa dish made with fried bananas. Also present throughout the menu are dishes that have come to embody the native style of cooking. Chifa is where traditional Chinese techniques meet the exotic flair of Peruvian ingredients, while Nikkei features Japanese-inspired dishes using native techniques and ingredients.

China Chilcano welcomes you to discover José and team’s unique take on contemporary Peruvian cuisine, an intriguing amalgam of authentic and innovative dishes that are, in a word, unforgettable. Bold flavors, heady aromas and the buzz of excited diners take you on a sensorial journey that is anything but everyday.

Signature dishes like chifles and anticuchos reflect its native Criollo, while its Chinese Chifa is evident through flavorful stir-fries and freshly made dumplings from our lively dim sum bar. Experience Japanese Nikkei cuisine with Asian-style ceviches and tiraditos, as well as Peruvian-inspired nigiris. Imaginative cocktails feature an extensive Pisco library and essential Peruvian desserts serve as the perfect complement to your exploration of Peru and its food.”

Today’s the day:


A peek inside after the jump. Read More


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