Forget soggy egg rolls and lukewarm french fries. With his latest project, celebrity chef Mike Isabella is hoping to revolutionize meals at the mall.
Isabella Eatery, the chef's 41,000-square-foot food emporium on the third floor of Tysons Galleria, is divided into two sections — one the length of a football field. The 600-seat food court is made up of nine concepts, some of which may sound familiar.
Of two phases, the first, scheduled to open Dec. 11, will include three spots: a third location of Graffiato, which will have a sleeker design than Isabella’s flagship Italian joint in Chinatown; Non-Fiction Coffee, a casual cafe serving juices, coffee, pastries, paninis and toasts; and Retro Creamery, a sweets shop inspired by ice cream parlors of yesteryear.
The second phase, expected to open by the end of the year, will feature new locations of Arroz, Requin, Pepita and Yona, and the debuts of Kapnos Marketa, a deli-style counter with to-go spreads and Greek specialty items, and Octagon Bar, slinging classic Prohibition-style cocktails.
“We wanted a little bit of everything here, and to do it with restaurant-style service,” Isabella says of the eatery, designed to be more refined than the typical mall food court.
The restaurants are connected by a path of brown tiles, which also designates areas where you can walk freely with alcohol. If you’d prefer not to bounce around from spot to spot, go to the 120-seat dining hall, a common area offering sit-down table service and menu highlights from the surrounding restaurants.
Isabella planned the dining hall, which accepts reservations, as a way to distinguish his project from others in the area, including Union Market, where the counter-service and eclectic mix of purveyors can make meals feel disjointed. At Isabella Eatery, rather than hopping from stall to stall, you can order from a punctuated list of offerings and have a server bring your meal out like at a traditional restaurant. Isabella's food hall is nearly twice the size of Union Market.
Isabella Eatery will have its own separate entrance at Tysons Galleria, so you won’t have to slog through crazed shoppers to get your panini, taco or oyster fix. And unlike old-school food courts, the restaurants will actually be open earlier and later than the mall.