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Ocean waves
Ocean waves


In Washington’s early days, members of Congress, the Supreme Court and the President’s staff left their families at home and crowded into hotels and boarding houses for the brief Congressional session. Naturally, restaurants opened to serve these short-term residents. For most, the dining places of choice were oyster bars – the casual eateries of the early 1800s. Oyster bars, featuring the bounty of the neighboring rivers, bays, sea and farms, remained a fixture on DC’s dining scene well into the 20th century.

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Cousins and fourth generation Washingtonian’s Nick and David Wiseman are excited to open Whaley’s to honor this mid-Atlantic culinary tradition – one they enjoyed first as kids bellied up to the raw bar at Crisfield’s in Silver Spring.

Dave and Nick hope to create a neighborhood place where friends and family can gather to enjoy good food and drink. Under Chef Daniel Perron, Whaley’s menu will feature shellfish towers, crudos, a selection of seafood-focused plates and a rotating family-style platter for sharing. Longtime collaborator, mentor and friend Brian Zipin has assembled a beverage program featuring classic cocktails, thoughtfully selected wines and good beers.

While the menu will change to reflect what’s seasonal and fresh, dishes will include Day Boat Scallop Crudo, Crispy Soft Shell Crabs and Pan Roasted Black Bass. Whaley’s works exclusively with purveyors that adhere strictly to rigorous sustainable seafood standards.

There was indeed a man named Whaley – and he did make history of a sort. Named commodore of the tiny Maryland Navy early in the Revolutionary War, Zedechiah Whaley led his own ship out to singlehandedly confront a squadron of British warships. As the battle was joined, Whaley became the first casualty in the Maryland Navy’s effort to protect local watermen.

Whaley’s was built into the Lumber Shed at Yards Park, an historic industrial building in the Washington Navy Yard. The restaurant features a 22-seat bar and a 44-seat dining room, as well as outdoor patio seating facing the riverfront and the surrounding Yards Park.

School of red snapper fish

In the News

  1. Washingtonian

    1. 100 Very Best Restaurants / #12


      This new seafood spot on the riverfront in Navy Yard is as perfect for local oysters and beer as it is for a celebratory occasion.

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  2. Thrillist

    1. Eat Seeker

      The Best Restaurants in Washington DC Right Now

      It would be a damn shame if Whaley’s, which is located next to the Anacostia River near Navy Yard, didn't excel at fish and seafood. Fortunately, the newcomer has already earned well-deserved praise for its raw bar, featuring pristine oysters, littleneck clams, poached shrimp, and its shellfish towers, available in small, medium, and large (a.k.a. way too much for less than four people) sizes.

      Read more

  3. Washington Post

    1. Whaley’s Review: An urban twist on boardwalk seafood

      October 2016

      As I reflect on it, the seafood tower that four of us shared at Whaley’s seem s like a novel, one you can’t put down, each page building on the momentum of the previous one and revealing a twist that says something compelling about the characters or maybe the author...

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    1. Whaley’s Shells Out Refreshing Tastes of the Sea

      June 3 | Tom Sietsema

      If you order only one dish at Whaley’s, the city’s latest seafood attraction, make it fried squash blossoms. Presented as a harmonious quartet, the edible flowers call to all the senses with their saffron hue, their gentle crackle and a filling of sweet chopped shrimp that’s improved by espelette and a swab of ginger aioli.

      Limiting yourself to one dish here along the Southeast waterfront would be a shame, though, because the equals to that shareable appetizer are clams casino, rethought with racy chorizo atop the tender clams, and cigar-shaped razor clams tricked out with pickled chilies and a Meyer lemon vinaigrette.

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    1. Whaley’s, a raw bar from the DGS team, is coming to the Southeast waterfront

      Going Out Guide | February 10, 2016

      The images are etched into Nick Wiseman's memory as clearly as the photo of Crisfield Seafood Restaurant that still hangs in his parents' Washington home: The twice-monthly dinners at the historic Silver Spring seafood house where Wiseman and his family would devour oysters, clams, crabs and other fruits of the sea....

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  4. Zagat

    1. 5 Must-Try Dishes at Whaley’s in Navy Yard

      June 2016

      A seafood restaurant and raw bar on the Anacostia waterfront might seem like a drastic departure for the team behind DGS Delicatessen, but owners Nick and David Wiseman grew up enjoying the bounty of the mid-Atlantic. The cousins tapped executive chef Dan Perron (Fiola Mare, Blue Duck Tavern and The Oval Room) to execute their ode to fresh seafood, channeling his perspective on briny flavors. Here are five must-try dishes at Whaley’s.

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    1. 11 Must-Try Summer Eats & Drinks in DC

      June 2016

      Seasonal menus are no longer an option — they're a given. Which means many restaurants are already transitioning toward lighter dishes that feature summer's bounty, including stone fruits, watermelon, berries and seafood that evoke beach vacations. These dishes and drinks won't be around forever, so get 'em while it's hot.

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  5. The Hill is Home

    1. New Raw Bar Coming to The Yards This Spring

      February 2016

      Fresh, high quality seafood, both raw and prepared, is the newest addition to the growing dining scene at The Yards, DC’s premier waterfront neighborhood. Forest City Washington, master developer of The Yards, along with Washingtonian restaurateurs Nick and David Wiseman announced today a new seafood-focused dining concept to be located in the historic Lumber Shed at The Yards, located at 301 Water Street SE in the growing Navy Yard/Capitol Riverfront district. To be known as Whaley’s, the raw bar concept is expected to open this spring.

      Read more

  6. Washington City Paper

    1. Whaley's Brings Oysters and Seafood Towers to Navy Yard

      Also: soft-shell crabs

      Cousins Nick and Dave Wiseman had two formative culinary experiences growing up in D.C. The first was bagels and lox. The second was crabs and oysters. They turned the former into DGS Delicatessen, and this week, they opened Whaley's, a seafood-centric restaurant and oyster bar overlooking the Anacostia River in Navy Yard.

      Read more

    1. Seafood Restaurant & Raw Bar Whaley’s Coming to Navy Yard

      February 2016

      The restaurant will serve a combination of small plates and family-style platters highlighting sustainable seafood. Expect shellfish towers, a scallop crudo with charred grape vinaigrette, New England clam chowder, and grilled swordfish with braised endive and black garlic vinaigrette. Whaley's name comes from Zedekiah Whaley, a Maryland naval officer during the Revolutionary War. The restaurant is expected to open this spring.

      Read more

  7. Eater DC

    1. The Hottest Restaurants in D.C., July 2016

      July 2016

      This raw bar from the DGS Delicatessen team is a new draw for the Navy Yard neighborhood.

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    1. DGS's Founders Venture into the Raw Bar World

      February 2016

      The team behind DGS Delicatessen will next venture into seafood with the debut of Whaley's, opening in Navy Yard this spring.

      The raw bar is bound for the Lumber Shed building at The Yards development. On the menu: seafood towers, crudo, small plates and family-style fish dishes. The focus will be on sustainable seafood. Potential items include New England clam chowder, grilled swordfish and oysters.

      Read more