There's a lot to like about Rosslyn's brand-new Open Kitchen
Former Skywalk Café owners bring Rosslyn a new fast-casual option
Jeff Kim can't walk too far down the block in Rosslyn before someone says "Hi." The co-owner of the brand-new Open Kitchen in Arlington Tower has been a familiar face in the neighborhood for years. From 1994 to 2018, he and his wife, Sara Choi, owned and operated the popular Skywalk Café at the Rosslyn Metro, which was home to one of the neighborhood's favorite hot bars. They had regular customers, of course, who are happy to see them back.
Located at 1300 17th Street North, Open Kitchen is open weekdays from 6 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and also offers catering. Kim says if anything distinguishes his new establishment from others, it's the freshness of the food.
"Everything is home-cooked," he says. "We serve fresh-cracked eggs in the morning and add homemade cranberry sauce to our turkey sandwich. We roast and carve our turkey and beef on-site. Nothing is pre-packaged."
What's also notable about Open Kitchen is that, while it has a strong menu of classic American breakfast and lunch offerings, there are still a few atypical choices, such as a Hawaiian breakfast platter featuring two eggs, steamed rice, ham and pineapple, and a vegetarian kimchi fried rice omelet.
At Open Kitchen, you can mix and match an array of fresh ingredients to build your own rice or salad bowl.
For lunch, customers can create their own salad bowls or bento boxes from the only Asian food bar in the area. Unlike Skywalk Café, it's not self-service, but you can watch Kim or Choi prepare your food for you. There's a great variety of vegetables, proteins, dressings and toppings to choose from, all taste fresh, and you can mix and match hot and cold ingredients. Try the bibimbap, which is Korean mixed rice, meat and vegetables served with a fried egg. They also serve Lavazza Coffee.
The decor at Open Kitchen is modern and tasteful and even includes a lounge area with a green wall.
Open Kitchen is a great place to linger. As the name suggests, it's open and airy, with large windows, an atrium and even a green wall. There is also ample outdoor seating at round wooden tables in a shady area. It feels more like a modern, upscale lounge than your typical workday cafeteria. You can settle in at a bistro table or relax on a couch or comfortable chair. It has fast, free Wi-Fi, as well.
Open Kitchen has been brought to the neighborhood by Arlington Tower's owner, WashREIT, which acquired the building in 2018. Since then, they have continued to reinvest in the property by adding more amenities for companies located there and within the broader Rosslyn community. Open Kitchen is just one part of their new vision for the ground-level space. Arlington Tower also boasts a rooftop deck, AT DECK, with impressive views of the D.C. skyline. It can be rented for events.
Related Point: Open Kitchen
Photo at top: Sara Choi and Jeff Kim serving customers on their first day open at Arlington Tower.