Matchbox Headed to the Hill

Posted September 5, 2007 at 5:40pm

Looking to duplicate their wildly successful Chinatown pizza joint, the owners of Matchbox will open a second restaurant at 521 Eighth St. SE in a former vending warehouse. “We like to always be a neighborhood location,” said co-owner Drew Kim, who happens to live on Capitol Hill. “With the new baseball stadium coming, we knew we wanted to be over there,” he added. [IMGCAP(1)]

The new location will have the same menu of wood-fired pizzas and addictive mini burgers of the original Matchbox at 713 H St. NW. The owners are aiming to open in late spring or early summer of next year.

Right now, the space sits empty, ready for the owners’ design. There will be 150 seats, a mezzanine level, outdoor seating and custom carpentry, courtesy of the owners, like the original. “A lot of the woodwork we’re still going to do ourselves,” Kim said.

Early plans also include weekend brunch and happy hour deals.

Kim said they’re hoping to add to the changing profile of Barracks Row. “There seem to be more people there than there are places to go,” he said. The neighborhood “is definitely underserved.”

Free Food. Spanish restaurant Taberna del Alabardero (1776 I St. NW) will be serving up free paella Friday from noon to 1 p.m. on its patio. The samples and paella cooking demonstration will kick off the restaurant’s annual paella festival, which runs through Sept. 30.

Chef Santi Zabaleta is offering a menu showcasing varieties of the popular Spanish dish, including a traditional version with chicken, rabbit and duck, and a more unusual variation combining squid ink rice with cuttlefish.

The paella costs $22 per person during lunch and $26 at dinner. Guests will be presented with recipes, as well as the opportunity to buy paella-making supplies the restaurant has imported from Spain, including pans and saffron.

Fair Fare. For local food lovers, the prospect of good eats is what typically draws us to street fairs. And the Penn Quarter neighborhood’s annual Arts on Foot festival, slated for Sept. 15 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., is a top foodie bet with its roster of top chefs and restaurants.

On Eighth Street Northwest, between E and F streets, will be the festival’s Cooking as Art display. A lineup of local chefs will demonstrate various dishes throughout the day. On the cooking schedule are Michael Harr of Butterfield 9, Bryan Voltaggio of Charlie Palmer Steak, Enzo Febbraro of D’Acqua, Vikram Garg of IndeBleu, Rodney Scruggs of The Occidental, Robert Weland of Poste, Peter Smith of PS 7’s, James Muir of Rosa Mexicano, and Alex Powell of 701.

Additionally, two food pavilions near Eighth and F streets will host more than 30 area restaurants offering food samples. Among the participating restaurants are Acadiana, Capital Grille, Ceiba, Clyde’s of Gallery Place, Cowgirl Creamery, Jaleo, McCormick & Schmick’s, Oceanaire, Old Ebbitt Grill, OYA, Rasika, TenPenh and Zengo.

For more information on the festival and its other activities, visit artsonfoot.org.

Morton’s Has a Brand New Bar. In Georgetown’s power dining corridor, Morton’s the Steakhouse (3251 Prospect St. NW) this week unveiled its new Bar 12-21, which had been under construction for most of the summer.

The big draw is the bar’s twice-nightly power hour, which runs from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and 9:30-11 p.m. Monday through Friday. A special menu offers $4 snacks, including a mini cheeseburger trio, four petite filet mignon sandwiches, chicken goujonettes and crab, spinach and artichoke dip. Oysters on the half shell are $1.50 apiece and colossal shrimp are $2.50 apiece.

The bar’s numerical name is a nod to the opening date of the first Morton’s — Dec. 21, 1978 — in Chicago.

OYA Gets Down to Business. Anyone who has tried to snag a reservation during Restaurant Week knows that a fixed-price meal deal is a big dining draw.

Lucky for diners, that means more restaurants are offering attractive deals all year round.

With the nature of Washington schedules in mind, OYA (777 Ninth St. NW) will offer a “Back to Business” lunch and dinner special starting Monday.

A three-course lunch will be priced at $19 and a three-course dinner at $35. On Sundays and Mondays, the dinner deal will drop to $29.