An Indian restaurant is going to fill the former Cucina Vivace space in Crystal City this fall.
Owner Sahjahal Mia, who owns Taj of India in Georgetown, said he’s been looking to open a second Taj of India location in Virginia for a couple of years. Once the location on the 23rd Street S. restaurant row opened up, he knew he’d found a home.
“There are a lot of restaurants on that strip, but no Indian restaurants,” Mia told ARLnow.com. “I’ve been visiting 20-30 times, and every time it’s crowded. I think we’re going to do well.”
Mia’s Georgetown location has been open since 2002 serving traditional Indian fare and offering customers carry-out and delivery, including online ordering through services like Seamless and GrubHub. He said the offerings at the Crystal City restaurant, slated to open in mid-September, will be the same.
Mia’s observation of the 23rd Street restaurant row differs from that of Gordon Vivace, who owned Cucina Vivace.
“That strip is not in good shape and is simply no longer a location where an upscale restaurant can survive,” Vivace said when he closed his doors in March.
The only other Indian restaurant in the Crystal City/Pentagon City area is Kohinoor Dhaba on S. Eads Street, so Mia feels he is better positioned to succeed. In fact, he said, he has had several calls for delivery to Crystal City from his Georgetown restaurant. Although it was out of his delivery range, he has told his drivers to make the trek anyway, just to build up a following.
“We have a lot of customers who have come from Crystal City hotels to our restaurants,” he said. “We needed to be here.”