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When Circa closed in Dupont Circle on New Year’s Eve, Anthony Lupo jumped on the opportunity to open his third restaurant. Lupo and his partners are behind Southern Hospitality in Adams Morgan and Scarlet Oak in Navy Yard. The latest addition, Magnolia Kitchen & Bar, should open in the spring.
It’s a homecoming of sorts for the restaurateur. Lupo served as the senior vice president of Circa restaurants for five years, including the Dupont Circle location. He’s hoping to fill the void that Circa left when it closed.
“When it comes to American fare in this area, we believe if this restaurant did not exist, there would be a major hole in North Dupont for American fare,” Lupo says. “We want to fill that and create a menu where you can get a great steak and a bottle of wine for $150 a person. But you can also grab a Coke and a $13 chicken sandwich or burger and watch a game.”
A chef has yet to be named and details on cuisine are scarce even though the 75-seat restaurant with 40 additional patio seats could open as early as March. Lupo says the drinks will include local beer, wine, and cocktails with a heavy emphasis on whiskey and Scotch. “We’re going to have a very aggressive happy hour.”
Dupont Circle has struggled as a dining destination recently as diners head east to eat at restaurants in Logan Circle, Shaw, Bloomingdale, and H Street NE. Lupo is hopeful Magnolia can draw diners’ attention back to the neighborhood.
“Dupont needs a jump start,” he says. “I believe our reputation in the city is being the fun, happy, warm place,” Lupo adds. “We want to create that here.”
Magnolia Kitchen & Bar, 1601 Connecticut Ave. NW