Lucky Danger’s Pentagon City outpost is finally set to open on Wednesday (July 21), according to a restaurant press release.
The popular D.C.-based Chinese-American pop-up restaurant is taking up residence at Westpost (formerly Pentagon Row) at 1101 S. Joyce Street. It moves into the space previously occupied by Aabee Express Mediterranean, which closed nearly a year ago.
The Arlington location will be the highly-regarded concept’s first permanent location, after the success of their pop-up in D.C.’s Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhood.
“We noticed a lot of our guests were actually driving over from Arlington, Alexandria to D.C. to pick up food,” Lucky Danger’s executive chef Andrew Chiou tells ARLnow. “So, we might as well go to them.”
The restaurant had initially targeted an April opening back when they first announced their expansion in February.
The opening was delayed for two reasons, Chiou tells ARLnow. First, co-owner and local chef Tim Ma’s continued activism work while co-founding Chefs Stopping AAPI Hate took bandwidth and priority. At the same time, the fabrication of custom-built equipment took longer than expected.
Lucky Danger will be take-out and delivery-only — there is no on-location sit down capacity.
Orders will be taken via an “in-person kiosk” at the location for the time being, according to the press release. Online ordering is expected to be available in the “coming weeks.”
Chiou says this was done with not just pandemic-related safety in mind, but also to pay employees more.
“We want to pay our staff more… to make up for lost time from earlier in the year,” says Chiou. “In order to do that, we have to save costs in other places.”
That meant not having a cashier and servers.
The menu at Westpost will be much the same as the one in D.C., but there will be a few additions including pan fried scallion pancakes, deep fried shrimp spring rolls, General Tso’s chicken, and Moo Shu pork wrapped in a housemade pancake. Every order comes with a “fistful of fortune cookies,” per the press release.
Chiou says they often got requests from guests for other favorite Chinese-American dishes and decided to start making them.
“We’re already moving the location to where our guests are. So, might as well also give them the food they want,” Chiou says.
Initially the restaurant will only be open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday, but the plan is to be open seven days a week and for lunch. However, the restaurant is still hiring and is not ready to move to expanded hours quite yet, says Chiou.
The hope is that this Arlington location is just the first in Lucky Danger’s expansion.
Chiou says the thought is to open a number of Lucky Danger outposts across the area, including more in Arlington, that are closer together, smaller, and remain top quality. This could mean food sells out faster (which is often the case in D.C.), but that’s okay.
“We want to open a few more spaces that aren’t too far apart [from each other],” says Chiou. “So that everyone can have access to Lucky Danger.”
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