AREP in the News

A New Food Hall With QR Code Ordering Opens Above the Rosslyn Metro Next Week

July 28, 2021

By Kalina Newman

A new food hall that aims to attract remote workers opens next week inside the renovated complex above the Rosslyn Metro station in Arlington. Officially debuting Tuesday, August 3, the Assembly boasts 29,000 square feet of dining space across two floors and an outdoor terrace. The 625-seat complex presents customers with a single menu that pulls from six vendors. There’s a gourmet market loaded with grab-and-go options and a yet-to-open oyster bar.

Similar to Rosslyn’s other food hall, Happy Eatery (nee Happy Endings Eater), the Assembly (1700 N. Moore Street) does not rely on any outside vendors. Chicago-based DMK Restaurants manages the operation, introducing six different brands developed by two chefs. Brian Hutson, a James Beard Award semifinalist in 2015 for his work at now-closed Boltwood in Evanston, Illinois, is the group’s corporate chef. Assembly executive chef Cameron Cousin comes from now-shuttered Max Fox Brewing Company in Falls Church.

Unlike other food halls where diners might wander from stall to stall, the Assembly will have hosts seat customers at tables where they can order food directly to their seats using a QR code. This is a similar setup to the Roost on Capitol Hill, although Neighborhood Restaurant Group brought in some big-name external partners.

The six brands sending dishes to the Assembly’s menu include:

Big Day Coffee: for espresso drinks, doughnuts, pastries, and specials like horchata cold brew

GiGi’s Greens & Grains: for salads, grain bowls, and smoothies like a blueberry-mango flavor packed with kale and flax seeds

Sammy’s Pickles: for made-to-order deli sandwiches on 6- or 12-inch rolls

Great Lakes Diner: for American diner food such as all-day breakfast dishes, burgers, fries, and fried chicken sandwiches

Charo’s Tacos: with fillings like fried cod with chipotle mayo to a vegan seitan “chorizo”

Beng Beng Asian Street Food: generically described in a news release as a vendor that celebrates “the rich history of Asian fare from their incredible street culture.” Asian dishes that appear on Assembly’s first menu include a pork belly and napa cabbage dumpling and cucumber salad with ginger and poppy seeds.

Fog Point Oyster Bar, a full-service restaurant with a separate entrance, should open within the next two months, says DMK owner David Morton, part of the family that founded chain steakhouse Morton’s. A few dishes from Fog Point will eventually join the Assembly’s menu, too. Morton would have liked Fog Point and the Assembly to debut earlier, but the COVID-19 pandemic created delays. Despite the wait, Morton says he hasn’t felt deterred.

“The Morton’s family has survived wars, Spanish flus, depression and recessions,” he says (Morton’s website says the first restaurant opened in 1978). “We’re surviving this too, and we’re excited for the world to come back together as much as everybody else is. Rosslyn and Virginia is one of the fastest growing markets in the country, explosive from every possible metric, and it’s the perfect location.”

Developer American Real Estate Partners first announced it was building a food hall as part of a $35 million renovation for Rosslyn City Center two years ago. AREP originally partnered with Texas-based food hall operator Oz Rey, but the group terminated its lease last year, Washington Business Journal reports. Shortly after Oz Rey left, AREP approached DMK. The company already operates Chicago complexes Hayden Hall and the Exchange, and Morton jumped at the chance to move into Rossyln, where he hopes to provide an all-day option for teleworkers to eat, drink, and relax once they log off.

The massive space’s colorful interior design comes from Karen Herold of Studio K Creative. Herold’s portfolio includes Chicago’s Nobu Hotel, Foxtrot Market — which recently opened several D.C. locations) — and the Girl and the Goat restaurant in Los Angeles.