February 6, 2017

For his next project, Mike Isabella is going big. Very big.

Ask a dozen food geeks to name the first thing they associate with Mike Isabella, and they’ll probably rattle off a list of biographical highlights and/or minutiae: “Top Chef” contestant, New Jersey bad boy, clam-shucking chauvinist, serial restaurateur, dude with the gypsy tattoo to ward off evil.
With his next major project, however, Isabella may forever shed his tats-and-work-shirts image and confirm his status as one of the most ambitious restaurateurs in the Mid-Atlantic.In the summer of 2017, the chef will open Isabella Eatery in Tysons Galleria, an ambitious, 10-concept undertaking that will combine a few brands that are already familiar to D.C. diners — and several that are not.

Sprawling over 41,000 square feet on the McLean mall’s third level, near luxury stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Prada, the 600-seat Eatery will include variations on established brands, such as Isabella’s Italian flagship Graffiato, his spit-roasting Greek restaurant Kapnos, his Mexican cantina Pepita, and Yona, the Japanese and Korean restaurant guided by chef Jonah Kim. It will also feature a raw-bar riff on Requin, the seafood project being workshopped by chef Jennifer Carroll in Merrifield, as well as new enterprises dedicated to Spanish tapas, old-fashioned ice cream, specialty coffee, classic cocktails and Mediterranean grilled meats.