Small Plates: An Upswing Around the Hill

Posted October 29, 2008 at 4:40pm

Despite the economic downturn, bars and restaurants in Washington seem to be on an upswing, especially around the Hill. From new openings to renovations, here are a few morsels of news related to food and drink. Getcher Philly Fix

Soon the Italian Store won’t be the only area deli to serve Philadelphia-style sandwiches. On Halloween, Casey Patten and David Mazza will be opening Taylor Gourmet, a market and deli, on the 1100 block of H Street Northeast. Patten, who grew up working in restaurants and delis, says that when he moved to Washington in 2003, he was disappointed by the lack of sandwich options, so he decided to open his own shop. He has been kicking around the idea of a deli ever since and finally decided to take the plunge when a tenant moved out of a retail space that he owns on the H Street Corridor. “We wanted to create an old Philadelphia- style Italian shop, but we wanted to do it in a contemporary and industrial way,” Patten says. The market was designed by architectural firm Grupo 7 and will feature shelves made of galvanized fence posts. Patton says he also plans to incorporate delivery pallets into the design, adding that he wants the things that are used to get the food to the market to become a part of the décor. Patrons can order food at the counter and then bring it to one of the 27 seats to enjoy. The shop will also be offering delivery to Capitol Hill. A Capitol Facelift

Capitol Lounge, a staple of the Pennsylvania Avenue bar scene, is undergoing a facelift this month. Patrons of the haunt (229 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) may have noticed that the once-decrepit bathrooms now have locks on them and are clean and well-lit. This is just the beginning of an extensive construction project, according to owner Joe Englert. “The place will still be very comfortable but be cleaner, brighter and more organized,” Englert wrote in an e-mail. “We are also launching an extensive exotic beer list and a creative pub menu.” The project is being made possible by insurance money that the bar has received after a fire in 2005 and another in 2007. In addition to the construction, the lounge will also be hanging 30 new flat-screen televisions. Wine and Power

The Corcoran Gallery of Art will be hosting “Power Hours” on Thursday evenings to showcase the exhibit, “Richard Avedon: Portraits of Power.” The program, presented by the Corcoran’s Café des Artistes, will run from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and will include a ticket to the exhibit, two glasses of wine and a selection of cheeses and appetizers for $25. The exhibit, which opened last month, features more than 200 photographs taken by the famed French photographer. Patrons will see familiar political faces such as former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) as well as activist Abbie Hoffman. Those who attend the event will also receive a 10 percent discount on the “Richard Avedon: Portraits of Power” catalogue. The price of a ticket can also be applied to a one-year membership to the Corcoran Gallery. “Power Hours” will be hosted every Thursday from now through Dec. 18, excluding Thanksgiving. Tickets are available through the Corcoran’s Web site.