The Spanish on-call service Jaleo by José Andrés is about to close its Crystal City location after 17 years in the business district of Arlington, Virginia, according to a representative of the ThinkFoodGroup.
The restaurant will close its doors on Sunday, October 3rd, leaving the iconic brand that introduced tapas to mainstream American food culture with a restaurant in the DC area, the flagship downtown Penn Quarter restaurant. With an abundance of office buildings, Crystal City fits the profile of a neighborhood badly hit by a COVID-19 pandemic that forced a surge in teleworking culture.
Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, Jaleo had three locations in the greater Washington area. In May 2021, the famous chef and humanist replaced the Jaleo in Bethesda, Maryland, with an expected offshoot of the traditional Spanish diner.
A statement from TFG to Eater said the Jaleo shutdown is “in anticipation of the ongoing transformation of the neighborhood,” which hints at the imminent arrival of tech giant Amazon and the renaming of neighborhoods around Reagan National Airport as National Landing .
“We are incredibly grateful to our dedicated employees and to our friends and neighbors in the area for their support,” the statement reads, adding that all employees in Crystal City have been offered new jobs within the international hospitality group. “With the exciting development plans from Amazon HQ2 and JBG SMITH, we look forward to exploring potential new concepts that could be part of National Landing’s dynamic future landscape.”
As Jaleo leaves Virginia, the brand is busy expanding into other cities. Jaleo Chicago opened in July. According to TFG, a delayed opening of a Jaleo in Dubai – the first tapas bar location outside the United States – is planned for 2022. Jaleo also has properties in Las Vegas and Disney Springs in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. In 2019, Washington Post critic Tom Sietsema introduced Jaleo to his DC restaurant hall of fame and directed prospects to the proprietary chorizo with olive oil mashed potatoes and an apple, fennel, and Manchego cheese salad.
After Amazon announced in November 2018 that it would be building its second US headquarters in Northern Virginia, real estate speculation has increased. The so-called “Amazon effect” has already triggered a restaurant revival in Arlington. Freshman, an all-day café with all the trimmings of a trendy modern restaurant, planted its flag in Crystal City in April. The Westpost development, formerly known as Pentagon Row, continues to add a wave of well-known DC area chefs, in places like Mattie and Eddie’s Irish Pub, the Lucky Danger American-Chinese takeaway, and the new Aslin Beer Co. project, Nighthawk Pizza.
While Jaleo is preparing for his last week in Crystal City, Andrés landed on the Spanish island of La Palma to provide disaster relief with World Central Kitchen after a volcanic eruption.