Press Club

Rasa to Finally Open in Crystal City Later This Week

Rasa, a fast-casual Indian restaurant, is opening in Crystal City later this week.

The D.C.-based eatery will open its third location — its first in Virginia — at 2200 Crystal Drive on Friday, July 2. Rasa initially announced its expansion into Arlington nearly two years ago.

In April, the restaurant applied for a permit to sell beer, wine, and mixed drinks which dropped the hint that they were on the verge of opening.

“We’ve had our eyes on opening a RASA in Virginia for years, and National Landing feels like the perfect launching pad,” said Rasa co-founder Sahil Rahman. “It is one of the most exciting neighborhoods in the country, and we look forward to feeding the community soon.”

Rahman and co-founder Rahul Vinod opened the first Rasa in December 2017 in D.C.’s Navy Yard, near Nationals Park. The second location opened in August 2020 in the District’s Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhood.

The new restaurant is 1,550 square feet with seating for up to 32 diners. The design and menu “mirrors” the other two locations, notes a press release.

The menu is bowl-based, Indian fare with eye-winking names like “Aloo Need Is Love” (vegan with sweet potatoes, eggplant, beets, lentils, and tamarind ginger chutney) and “Tikka Chance On Me” (chicken tikka with spinach, radishes, toasted cumin yogurt with mint cilantro chutney).

There will also be a rotation of vegan soft serve dessert, like at the Mount Vernon location, including mango lassi and masala chai flavors.

The restaurant is exploring collaborating with “notable local Virginia-based brands, vineyards, breweries, distilleries, farmers, and other celebrated artisans” for future menu items.

Local artist Nandita Madan, who is Rahman’s aunt, designed custom artwork for the new space, including a large canvas painting paying homage to the restaurant’s name.

Crystal City’s Rasa was initially set to open last year, but the pandemic influenced the timing.

“From safety concerns to supply chain, building out this restaurant during COVID was an absolute rollercoaster, filled with many ups and downs”, said Rasa co-founder Rahul Vinod. “We are incredibly grateful to our team at Rasa, the National Landing BID, JBG Smith, and the community for all of the support as we navigated the pandemic, and we can’t wait to finally welcome folks into our new home soon.”

Rasa’s opening comes as developer JBG Smith’s post-HQ2 vision for Crystal City and the rest of National Landing begins to take shape, charting a more modern, mixed-use and pedestrian-oriented course for what had been seen as an aging collection of concrete-constructed offices and parking garages.

JBG recently released a video detailing more of its plans. In May, plans for two mixed-use towers from JBG Smith were approved by the County Board. Earlier this month plans for a new park began to crystalize, Alamo Drafthouse announced its Crystal City opening date, and a popular New York bakery opened.

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