So, question: What isn't opening in Shaw these days?
The Northwest neighborhood is already slated to be the home of new ventures from such local luminaries as Michael Friedman, Tiffany MacIsaac, Tim Ma and Rob Rubba, and such familiar brands as Compass Coffee and Daikaya.
Next up: 25-year-old Kwame Onwuachi, whose résumé includes stints at such cachet-carrying eateries as New York's Eleven Madison Park and Per Se. Onwuachi expects to open the Shaw Bijou later this year.
Onwuachi, a Bronx native who started his own catering company at 20, said he was ready to get out of New York and do something different. He considered other locales such as Nashville and San Francisco but settled on Washington.
"D.C. has always held a special place in my heart," he said. His family would come to Washington over the summer to spend time with his grandfather, who would fly in from Nigeria.
As to the restaurant's specific location, "Shaw has a lot of history, besides being an up-and-coming part of D.C. right now,” he said. “It’s just a perfect place to open a restaurant.”
Moreover, Onwuachi and co-owner Greg Vakiner, his former Eleven Madison Park colleague and Culinary Institute of America roommate, found the perfect space thanks to salon owner Kelly Gorsuch: Gorsuch's Italianate-style house. Gorsuch is a partner in the venture, as is local business consultant Glenn Paik. The team came together after Onwuachi traveled to Washington to cook two meals for roving supper club series Dinner Lab.
On Tuesdays through Saturdays, the Shaw Bijou's 32-seat dining room will serve a tasting menu, probably 15 to 18 courses, Onwuachi said. The second-floor members-only bar will seat about 50 guests and specialize in rare and vintage liquors.
Onwuachi describes his food as "modern American with global inspiration." He credits the "melting pot" of the Bronx and his mother, who also cooked professionally, with exposing him to a variety of cuisines. Onwuachi has been traveling around the country and the world for the past year, with stops in such locales as Mumbai and Hong Kong.
Prices and specific dishes are still being worked out, but diners can expect a dry-aged Wagyu beef program, herb garden, house-made charcuterie and beverage pairings. There will also be an interactive element to dining at the Shaw Bijou, Onwuachi said, including tableside cooking and kitchen tour that will feature something to eat, too.
The idea is to present an evening that is about more than the food, though servers will be tasked with helping it "tell a story" to the diners.
"You have to appreciate the experience as a whole," Onwuachi said.
The Shaw Bijou, 1544 Ninth St. NW. www.theshawbijou.com. Opening late 2015.