Motorkat opens in Takoma Park and Salt & Vine is opening in Olney this week. Credit: Left: Provided by Salt & Vine owner; Right: Akira Kyles

This week Motorkat opened in Takoma Park on Tuesday and Salt & Vine in Olney is expected to open Friday.

Motorkat, located at 6939 Laurel Ave., announced in March that it would open sometime this spring. The establishment was brought to the community by Chris Brown, owner of Zinnia in Silver Spring, and Danny Wells, executive chef of Zinnia and a Takoma Park native.

Its menu will rotate based on what’s in season while including small plates ranging from specialty cauliflower skewers to Mediterranean sardines, and big plates such as pork belly and Atlantic bluefin tuna. Small plates start at $12 and the big plates start at $19.

The eatery’s name was inspired by the Takoma Park legend of a motorcycle-riding cat. In the 1990s, Motor Cat was a slightly pudgy cat who rode around with her riding partner J. Catman on a Suzuki 500, according to a 1993 Washington Post article.

Salt & Vine will open at the site of the historic Olney House, located at 3308 Olney Sandy Spring Road, which was built in 1800 by Whitson Canby. Howard County native and chef Thomas Zippelli acquired the building in 2019 to transform it into an Italian eatery, making this his third concept restaurant. He also owns Turn House in Columbia and Maggie’s in Westminster and said Salt & Vine will be more formal.

Zippelli originally wanted to open the restaurant in spring 2020 but faced multiple challenges including supply chain issues and limits on how he could modify the historic structure, he said.


Salt & Vine’s menu will feature charcuterie, house-made pasta, seafood, steaks and oysters. Appetizers start at $14, pasta dishes start at $22, and pizzas starting at $16.

According to Zippelli, Friday reservations are capped at 100, but otherwise they will be open as normal. The restaurant will be open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday and, over time, will add in different services until it’s doing lunch and dinner seven days a week.