This post has been updated.
Thursday marks the grand opening of the Wharf, a mile-long, $2.5 billion development in Southwest D.C. But in the final hours, many of the restaurants that hoped to be fully operational for the occasion have been delayed due to construction hiccups, permitting holdups and an aggressive timeline.
The site remains an active construction zone with more than 2,000 workers on-site every day. Still, opening night will go on as planned with a happy hour performance by the Bacon Brothers, sunset fireworks and a sold-out performance by the Foo Fighters at the Anthem, the massive, 6,000-capacity new music venue from the team behind the 9:30 Club.
Here are a few tips if you're planning to visit the Wharf anytime soon, plus updates on its bigger projects.
What to know before you go
There will be construction. All around you.
Much of the new construction at the Wharf is still undone. If you're going to see the Foo Fighters on Thursday, expect a little confusion getting to the venue. Your best bet for a clear entrance into the Wharf is at Ninth Street and Maine Avenue SW.
Your Uber or Lyft driver will have no problem getting you to the right place. They just may not know where to drop you off.
For now, Maine Avenue seems to be where drop-offs and pickups are taking place, but it’s a busy thoroughfare, meaning it’s not super-safe to climb out of the car into the street. Be extra cautious.
You might want to eat beforehand.
Shake Shack will be fully operational, though many other restaurants will be offering limited menus (more on that below). The Brighton, an English-inspired bar from the Hilton Brothers, and the Anthem will be serving a few dishes, though getting a bite at the music venue may not be that easy. During the soft-opening, a bartender said waits for food could take about an hour, but a spokeswoman for the venue said it expects to get faster at food prep. (Note: The Anthem is cashless, so bring a credit card.)
Cell service was spotty.
If you're meeting friends at the Anthem, pick a place to rendezvous in advance. Cellphone service was spotty at the venue during a recent visit, so it's best to coordinate a meeting point before you go.
Delays and openings
901 Wharf St. SW.
Opening night with the Foo Fighters will go on as planned. The space feels as big as you might expect from a true arena, with concrete floors and industrial touches, and is outfitted for accessibility with elevators, a nice touch for those who need accommodations.
791 Wharf St. SW
Thursday through Sunday, Fabio Trabocchi's Spanish restaurant will be serving bites from Casa Luca, his Italian kitchen in downtown D.C., while preparing to officially open the week of Oct. 23, though there's no firm date yet.
100 District Sq. SW
From Oct. 12 to 15, this French restaurant from Mike Isabella will serve a limited menu of items made exclusively for the Wharf opening, including burgers and steak. The full menu will be available Oct. 23.
Hank's Oyster Bar
701 Water St. SW
Chef Jamie Leed's beloved seafood spot will serve free samples from Oct. 12 to 15, including fresh oysters, crab cakes, shrimp cocktail, fried oysters, deviled eggs and lobster roll sliders. They plan to officially open the week of Oct. 23.
Kith and Kin
The opening of Kwame Onwuachi's Afro-Caribbean restaurant in the InterContinental Hotel has been delayed. It's expected to open by the end of this month.
Due to construction delays, you'll have to wait a couple more weeks to experience Cantina Bambina, a miniature version of Cantina Marina, which opened 15 years ago and attracts a loyal fan base.
Pearl Street Warehouse
33 Pearl St. SW
From the same team behind Cantina Bambina is this intimate music venue, which on Oct. 12 (and during planned performances) will serve a limited dinner menu of its American classics. Check back in a few weeks for breakfast and lunch.