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Soul food and more: What's trending on Washington's food scene?

Want the scoop on Washington's most talked-about local spots? Read on for the latest trending restaurants and bars in the area.

As fans of cronuts and cake pops can attest, food trends come and go. So how can you tell which tastes are trending right this minute?

We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp and SafeGraph, a dataset of commercial points of interest and their visitor patterns, to uncover which restaurants have been on the tips of diners' tongues this month.

To find out who made the list, we first looked at Washington businesses on Yelp by category and counted how many reviews each received. Rather than compare them based on number of reviews alone, we calculated a percentage increase in reviews over the past month, and tracked businesses that consistently increased their volume of reviews to identify statistically significant outliers compared to past performance. Then we analyzed foot traffic data from SafeGraph to validate the trends.

Read on to see which spots have the momentum heading into springtime.

Oohh's & Aahh's

Open since 2003, this traditional American spot, which has two locations in Washington, is trending compared to other businesses categorized as 'American (Traditional)' on Yelp.

Citywide, traditional American spots saw a median 1% increase in new reviews over the past month, but Oohh's & Aahh's saw a 2.5% increase, maintaining a mixed 3.5-star rating throughout. According to SafeGraph foot traffic data, the number of visitors to Oohh's & Aahh's more than tripled over the past month.

It's not the only trending outlier in the traditional American category: King Street Oyster Bar has seen a 58.3% increase in reviews, and Little Pearl and Devon and Blakely have seen 7.4% and 3.4% increases, respectively.

Oohh's & Aahh's at 5933 Georgia Ave. NW in Brightwood features macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, meatloaf, beef short ribs and catfish.

Oohh's & Aahh's is open from 11 a.m.–10 p.m. on Monday-Thursday, noon-4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, and noon-7 p.m. on Sunday.  According to SafeGraph, it usually gets busy at 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., and on Tuesdays and Sundays, so go on Wednesdays if you want to avoid the rush.

The Capital Burger

Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about Mount Vernon Square's The Capital Burger, the well-established cocktail bar and New American spot has been getting a lot more foot traffic lately.

While The Capital Burger stayed on par with the median 1.3% increase in new reviews businesses categorized as 'American (New)' on Yelp over the past month, maintaining a solid four-star rating, the number of visitors to The Capital Burger more than tripled over the same time frame, according to SafeGraph's foot traffic data.

For an overview of the business, we looked to its Yelp page. Here's what we found: 'We believe the classic American burger, when well-crafted, is as fine a dining experience as any. To achieve that, we left no patty unturned as we sought out purveyors of the best beef, created recipes for our own pickles and curated a wine list that speaks to the fact that these luxe burgers are anything but ordinary. We still encourage you to set aside forks in favor of bare hands but rest assured, linen napkins are in abundance.'

Its Yelp page also notes, 'The full menu is available for carry out, and The Capital Burger proudly offers Happy Hour seven days a week from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.'

There's more that's trending on Washington's New American scene: Nina May has seen a 46.3% increase in reviews, and BlackSalt and Black Coffee have seen 0.3 and 7.5% increases, respectively.

Open at 1005 Seventh St. NW since 2018, The Capital Burger offers smoked gouda cheese fries, pan-fried calamari, a ribeye steak sandwich and a lobster and crab burger, in addition to its six signature burgers.

The Capital Burger is open from 11 a.m.–10 p.m. on Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m.–11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. According to SafeGraph, it's usually busiest at 7 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., and people visit The Capital Burger most on Saturdays and Mondays, with a slowdown on Thursdays.

Hook Hall

Park View's Hook Hall is also making waves. Open since July 2019 at 3400 Georgia Ave. NW, the bar and event space has seen a 28.6% bump in new reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 1% for all businesses tagged 'Bars' on Yelp.

Here's more about the business, from its history section on Yelp: 'Hook Hall is a traditional tavern and event space. It is a place you go to enjoy a cold beer and catch up with friends, or to find the latest epic pop-up experience.'

If you're still curious, we found this on the business's Yelp page: 'We offer 12,000 square feet to design your perfect event, or kick back with friends. We offer outdoor cabana rentals with drink and food packages and event catering from local restaurants.'

There's more than one hot spot trending in Washington's bar category: Duke's Grocery has seen a 2.5% increase in reviews, and Johnny Pistolas has seen a 0.9% bump.

Hook Hall offers a variety of craft beers and cocktails, and food is available from food trucks outside. It also hosts a farmers market on Sunday mornings. Over the past month, it's maintained a mixed 3.5-star rating among Yelpers.

Hook Hall is open from 4:30 p.m.–midnight on Tuesday and Wednesday, noon–midnight on Thursday, noon–1 a.m. on Friday, 10 a.m.–1 a.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m.–7 p.m. on Sunday. (It's closed on Monday.)

Residents Cafe & Bar

Dupont Circle's Residents Cafe & Bar is the city's buzziest breakfast and brunch spot by the numbers.

The bar and restaurant, which opened at 1306 18th St. NW in September 2019, increased its new review count by 23.3% over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median new review count of 1.2% for the Yelp category 'Breakfast & Brunch.'

Its specialties include espresso martinis and other house-made cocktails, local coffee, steak frites, omelets, chickpea fritters and charred octopus. Also, brunch is served all week. 

Residents Cafe & Bar is open for breakfast from 8-11 a.m. on Monday-Friday, for lunch from 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. on Monday-Saturday, and for dinner from 5- 11 p.m. on Monday-Saturday. (It's closed on Sunday.)

This story was created automatically using local business data, then reviewed and augmented by an editor. Click here for more about what we're doing. Got thoughts? Go here to share your feedback.