Mike Isabella Oddly Announces New Restaurant Concept

November 8, 2011

It's a tale full of rumors, denials, lies and Giada De Laurentiis. Top Chef: All-Stars runner up and chef/owner of the incredibly popular Graffiato Mike Isabella is apparently ready to expand his empire further. Just months after Graffiato opened, Isabella will open a second restaurant, called Bandolero, in Georgetown. The new restaurant will offer Mexican cuisine including "small plates including salsas, guacamoles, ceviches, tacos, vegetables and more."

That's the good news, but Isabella revealed it in a bizarre way. Early Monday morning, the popular blog Endless Simmer appeared to have quite the scoop. They conducted an interview with De Laurentiis (who was in town for the weekend and ate at Graffiato) and she said that Isabella was planning to open a restaurant in Georgetown. Isabella flatly denied it, "No, no, that was misinterpreted. I don’t have anything signed. It was a miscommunication. I wouldn’t do a Spanish/Mexican concept. It’s not true. The only thing I have is Graffiato.”

Mere hours later, Washington Post dining critic Tom Sietsema said the exact same thing and Isabella confirmed it. Why the theatrics? According to Eater, "When rumors first come out the information wasn't all accurate> and we weren't ready to share news about Bandolero. Once we were ready, we called Tom Sietsema with the news first and before talking to other media we wanted to honor that exclusive." 

Seems like Isabella didn't have deny the rumors so strongly in the morning. A simple "no comment" would have sufficed. 

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