Editor’s note: This story has been edited to remove Kusina by Egg Karne, which closed after press time. Rogi has changed its name from Zofia’s Kitchen and opened a new location in Leesburg.
“Meet me at the food court!”
These words once would have filled a food lover with dread, but the past decade has brought a renaissance to the concept. Food halls—as well as supermarkets and mall food courts—allow fledgling chefs to ply their trade with low overhead and lots of creativity. Here are four of our favorite concepts to sling takeout containers this year.
Cuisine: Vegan fast food
Where: Whole Foods Market
The chicken-sandwich wars are a very real (and deadly) phenomenon. But what about those who don’t eat animals? Chef Spike Mendelsohn had them in mind when he created this chain of meat-free fast-food eateries. The crown jewel is the crunch-tastic Crispy Chik N’ Funguy sandwich. Paired with herbaceous fries and a quartet of sauces, it will hold its own against any chicken sammie out there. 1635 Boro Pl., McLean
Where: Oh! Market
Birria may have started as a hearty soup usually served on weekends, but in recent years, new applications of the meaty meal have taken over Mexican-American menus. Here, get it as ramen with either beef or chicken for a riff on the original, or go in the quesabirria direction, with cheesy tacos, burritos, and quesadillas, all served with a guajillo chile–flavored braising liquid for dipping. 7412 Stream Walk Ln., Manassas
Where: Ballston Quarter and Chefscape
At chef Edward Hardy’s business devoted to the humble pierogi, the pockets of love go way beyond mere potato and cheese. The seasonal menu includes everything from Maryland Crab Rangoon–style to brisket-filled iterations. But don’t miss the overflowing sandwiches, including the pastrami Reuben and the Naan Smoker, stuffed with grilled lamb and ouzo-flambéed cheese. 4238 Wilson Blvd., Ste. 145, Arlington; 1602 Village Market Blvd SE, #120, Leesburg