Giving a tour of Capitol Hill restaurant Stanton & Greene, co-owner August Paro goes into excruciating detail about the wall tiles. The crackled white slabs—the same that are used in the New York subway system—have rounded edges that curve around corners. Paro briefly discusses the difference between these “radius bullnose” tiles versus the more commonly used flat “surface bullnose” tiles. “When you see this kind of thing you know that it’s old, because nobody does it,” he says. “Nobody takes the time to do it like this anymore.”
Except him. It’s the kind of detail that would be completely lost on, if not bore, most restaurateurs. But as a former TV and commercial set designer, Paro is obsessed with the design minutiae of the restaurant, which is modeled after American bars and brasseries of the 1930s and ’40s. No surprise: He designed the space himself, including the two custom-milled bars. The bright and airy space is a complete 180 from previous tenant, Pour House.
“You can’t find a lot of this stuff. You have to make it. There’s no way around it,” says Paro, who’s also an owner in Beuchert’s Saloon. “You look beyond ‘where are we going to find things?’ and just start thinking in terms of ‘how are we going to build this?’ I think it creates a different result because you can feel when it’s not all store-bought stuff.”
Paro has partnered with Sonoma owners Eli Hengst and Jared Rager to open Stanton & Greene, which will serve classic American cocktails and cuisine. The restaurant gets its name from Edwin M. Stanton (Abraham Lincoln‘s Secretary of War and the namesake of a nearby park) and Nathanael Greene (an American Revolutionary War general whose statue is in the middle of that park). It opens with a limited menu today and will make its full debut tomorrow.
Although the fellow owners run a wine bar, the focus of Stanton & Greene will be cocktails. “We wanted this to be to cocktails what Sonoma is to wine,” Paro says. Wisdom and Church & State owner Erik Holzherr is behind the drink menu, which includes early to mid-century classics plus signature cocktails using American and European spirits. Among the creations is the L’Enfant Marini with armagnac, framboise liqueur, passion fruit liqueur, pineapple juice, and cardamom bitters.
The “supper”—not dinner!—menu includes throwbacks like oysters Rockefeller and classic steak tartare plus things like chicken wings with mumbo sauce and steak and lobster croquettes to start. “Main plates” range from trout almandine to brick-roasted half chicken to seasonal penne pasta, while sandwiches include a French dip and a lobster roll. For dessert, try the bananas foster upside down cake.
The once darkened upstairs has been completely revamped into a natural light-filled loft that Stanton & Greene’s owners hope to rent out for private events. When it’s not in use, there’s another bar plus seating upstairs for diners. The restaurant will be open for dinner to start with brunch and lunch coming in the next few weeks. Check out the menu below.
Stanton & Greene, 319 Pennsylvania Ave. SE; stantonandgreene.com
Photo by Jessica Sidman