A taste of eclectic offerings from around the DMV can now be found at an upscale food court in Tysons Galleria.
Taste of Urbanspace is a new food hall that opened last week curated by Urbanspace, a New York-based company that curates various food markets of small businesses. The upscale dining hall replaced Isabella Eatery, which shuttered in the wake of financial hardships and sexual assault allegations against celebrity chef Mike Isabella.
David Hailsey, the director of operations at Urbanspace, said the company found out the space was available because the closure of Isabella Eatery was “highly publicized” and “very impactful” for both the community and employees.
“We clearly saw an opportunity for us to refuel what had been there before,” Hailsey said. “In the service of small business instead of in the service of celebrity.”
Hailsey said Urbanspace emphasizes working with small operations, especially those with few locations to give them “a stage to find their feet” and “be supportive within a community of peers and hopefully outgrow it someday.”
“Our goal with all of our vendors is that they will someday get too big for us, that they will have taken this opportunity to create a successful business and then move that business to its own stand-alone shop that will lead them to whatever destiny they want,” he said.
The food hall is Urbanspace’s first permanent venture outside of New York in the United States.
On top of the five locations currently open in Taste of Urbanspace, the company will be opening three more vendors in the coming weeks, which will rotate out over time.
The space occupies the entire third floor of Tysons Galleria and features wood paneling, funky light fixtures and panels of plants on the walls. Scattered throughout the food hall are cartoon decals of people and a plethora of seating, ranging from booths and communal seating to traditional and bar-style seating.
Here’s a peek into the first five shops inside the newly renovated food hall:
Andy’s Pizza is the first slice venture of Andy Brown, the founder of a handmade frozen pizza company, Eat Pizza.
Guests can grab and go slices of pizza ($3.15) with various toppings like pepperoni ($4) and mushroom ($4), and each slice can also be garnished with a dash of roasted garlic, extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkle of roasted onions or three different cheeses. If you are with a group, Andy’s Pizza also offers whole cheese pies ($18) with toppings for vegetarians like mushrooms, onions or peppers ($4), and pepperoni and sausage ($4) for meat lovers.
Donburi, a Japanese restaurant with a focus on rice bowls, opened its third location – and first outside the District – at Taste of Urbanspace.
The rice bowls feature various types of fish and meat, like the spicy sakedon bowl ($14) with spicy salmon, mixed greens and onion, or the gyudon bowl ($13) with sliced ribeye and a soft poached egg. For something lighter, grab one of Donburi’s sides like a small salad ($5) with mixed greens and almonds in a yuzu-soy vinaigrette or salmon sashimi ($7) with fresh wasabi.
Ice Cream Jubilee
If you are looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, Ice Cream Jubilee will exceed expectations with decadent sundaes, floats and scoops.
Go all out with a volcano cookie sundae ($8.95) with two scoops of any flavor ice cream loaded onto a chocolate chip walnut cookie and drizzled with hot fudge and caramel sauce, or an “impossible cone” ($18) stacked high with two scoops of ice cream, a cookie and a doughnut. The out-of-the-box ice cream comes in flavors like Thai tea, banana bourbon caramel and honey lemon lavender.
If you’re looking to keep warm, opt for Ice Cream Jubilee’s unique hot chocolate ($3.50), which comes in Earl Grey, Nutella and peppermint flavors.
James Beard semifinalist Thip Khao now has a location outside the District at Taste of Urbanspace, where it will serve up its Laotian cuisine in a more casual setting.
Thip Khao’s outpost, Sen Khao, will serve up classics from the original restaurant like khao poon, a coconut curry noodle soup with cabbage and bean sprouts, and mee kathi, a coconut curry and noodle soup with egg, peanut, cabbage and banana blossom. Customers can choose between chicken ($15) or tofu ($15) when ordering a noodle dish. Lighter fare includes curry puffs ($6) stuffed with curried potato and crispy rice salad ($15) with coconut rice, crispy tofu, peanut and dressed in a lime fish sauce.
Stomping Ground gives Tysons Galleria shoppers a taste of the South with homemade biscuits, while also keeping them awake with espresso options.
Each biscuit ($3) can be stacked high with an abundance of toppings ranging from sorghum butter (65 cents) and avocado smash ($1.50) to sausage ($2) and a baked egg ($2). Other breakfast options include a grit bowl ($12) with smoked gouda, chorizo, salsa verde and a poached egg, or oatmeal ($6) with apples, brown sugar and pecans.
Stomping Ground roasts Lost Sock coffee, a District-based coffee roasting company. Customers can choose between drinks like lattes ($3.50), macchiatos ($3) and cappuccinos ($3.25) to keep caffeinated throughout their shopping trip.
A Taste of Urbanspace will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. with Stomping Ground serving coffee at 7 a.m.
Lauren Ofman contributed reporting.