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Let’s grab a cup of coffee at The Cup We All Race 4 to fuel up before restaurant hopping at A Rake’s Progress, Brothers and Sisters, and Spoken English. That’s a real sentence guests and visitors at The LINE DC hotel (1770 Euclid Street NW) could utter before exploring their surroundings when the property from the Sydell Group opens in early 2017.
The hotel’s restaurants come from three big names in food: Erik Bruner-Yang of Maketto and Corey Polyoka and Spike Gjerde of Baltimore’s Woodberry Kitchen.
While all of the names of these concepts sound as if they took a turn in the hipster name generator, it’s A Rake’s Progress that raises the most eyebrows. Gjerde’s restaurant is said to:
Celebrate the union between the North and South: its people, traditions, farmlands and fishing grounds. He merges Maryland and Mid-Atlantic ingredients and traditions with the rich Southern foodways of Virginia, creating food that is distinctly of the District. Direct sourcing from local farms is the standard, and the wood-fired hearth physically anchors the restaurant as well as the menu that focuses on whole birds and small game.
Yet historically, the title, The Rake’s Progress, refers to a series of eight paintings by 18th century English painter William Hogarth that chronicle the downfall of Tom Rakewell, a young man who blows through all his inheritance at gambling halls and brothels before winding up in debtor’s prison and London’s infamous Bethlehem insane asylum.
The opulence of the early paintings in the series might prove inspiring but does D.C. really need another restaurant that’s connected, even tangentially, to themes of mental illness? And how does art from the 1730s relate to Gjerde’s theme of merging Maryland and Virginia traditions on the plate? Especially since the idiom itself means “a progressive deterioration, especially through self-indulgence.”
Accompanying the restaurant is “A Rake’s Bar.”
Bruner-Yang is responsible for Brothers and Sisters and Spoken English. Brothers and Sisters is the lobby restaurant and bar and refers to the idea that we’re all cut from the same cloth, according to Bruner-Yang. “This is a hotel lobby in a neighborhood that’s very community driven,” he says. “It’s a gathering place.” American cuisine boosted by Taiwanese and Japanese flavors will be served.
Spoken English on the other hand references people like Bruner-Yang who see themselves as “third culture.” Bruner-Yang, for example, was born in Taiwan, has lived in the U.S., but also spent time growing up in Japan. The cuisine will take an old-school “meat and three sides” approach to dining, and one of the featured meats will be a full portion of Peking duck.
The 220-room hotel will be housed in a 1912 neoclassical church currently being under construction that comes with a little controversy.