Peter Chang opens NiHao in Crystal City

NiHao (pronounced Knee-how) is Chinese for “hello.” The Crystal City location is an outpost for the original Peter Chang NiHao restaurant in Baltimore. (Courtesy Peter Chang Restaurant Group)

Prolific Chinese chef Peter Chang’s newest restaurant is open in Crystal City. NiHao is a more casual sit-in and take-out restaurant, highlighting Szechuan dishes with small, shareable plates and dim sum, with his wife’s “bubble pancake” on the menu.

NiHao (pronounced “knee-how”) is Chinese for “hello.” The Crystal City location is an outpost for the original Peter Chang NiHao restaurant in Baltimore.

Chang and his daughter and business partner, Lydia Chang, oversee the new NiHao at 1550 Crystal Drive. D.C. restauranteur Erik Burner-Yang, whose restaurants include Maketto and Brothers and Sisters, is a partner in the new NiHao. Chang’s wife Lisa is a Chinese pastry chef who has added to the menu as well.

The Crystal City NiHao includes outdoor bar seating with a retractable window and doubles as the to-go pickup. It is Chang’s second restaurant in Arlington, with another at the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center.

The Crystal City opening of NiHao comes about a month after Chang opened Peter Chang Gaithersburg, his first restaurant focusing on a Chinese tapas-style menu.

The Peter Chang restaurant in Rockville closed earlier this month, but is reopening under new name and ownership that includes the former management team. It is currently undergoing renovations.

“Closing the Rockville restaurant was a tough decision driven by rising rent and fierce competition in the area. Our kitchen and management team were interested in continuing in the space and reopening as a new concept, which we fully support,” Lydia Chang said.

Peter Chang came to the U.S. 30 years ago to serve as the head chef for the Chinese Embassy in D.C. The first Peter Chang restaurant opened in Charlottesville in 2011. The Peter Chang Restaurant Group now operates about a dozen restaurants across Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut and D.C.

His Dupont Circle location was added to the Michelin Guide last year. Chang was a 2022 James Beard Award finalist for Outstanding Chef.

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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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