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Jamie Leeds, the chef behind the casual seaside comforts of Hank’s Oyster Bar, seems to have no interest in joining D.C.’s fine-dining ranks so that she can, one day, find her name among the short list of Beard Award nominees. Nope, Leeds strikes a more populist pose, which is undoubtedly why she gave her latest project, CommonWealth in Columbia Heights, this deft little descriptor: The People’s GastroPub. Like Hank’s, CommonWealth is a neighborhood hangout, a place so bound up in concrete and human congestion that it virtually demands that you walk, not drive, to it. You could argue that Leeds’ brand of populism precludes patrons who can’t afford $14 for fish and chips or $15 for bangers and mash, but you could also argue that cheaper ingredients would only move CommonWealth toward Logan Tavern–level mediocrity, just with better beer.1400 Irving St. NW, (202) 265-1400
Next up: Cork Wine Bar (New American)