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The Carolina Kitchen opens its first D.C. location today on Rhode Island Row in Brentwood. The restaurant, which also has locations in Largo and Hyattsville, is known for traditional Southern dishes like barbecue ribs and smothered fried chicken. But as owner Lance London explains it: “I took low-country cooking—Southern cuisine, if you will—and I infused it with a Vegas flair.”

The menu focuses on belt-busters like fried pork chops with gravy and mac and cheese, plus lobster stuffed with crab imperial meat and grilled shrimp. The D.C. location also features an oyster bar, burgers, and a wide range of seafood, including steamed crab claws, grilled salmon, and crab cakes. (Check out the full menu below.)

For drinks, Carolina Kitchen offers plenty of cocktails and adult milkshakes. The new locale is debuting London’s latest boozy creation: the sweet potato pie milkshake with Frangelico, RumChata, candied yams, and vanilla ice cream. The restaurant also offers 18 wines by the glass or bottle, as well as a small selection of draft and bottled beers.

The restaurant’s whimsical decor complements Carolina Kitchen’s everything-but-the-kitchen-sink menu. London designed the restaurant to highlight three of his greatest loves: Southern food, jazz, and King Kong. Murals of jazz musicians, wood paneling, and vintage whiskey bottles decorate the walls. The second-floor mezzanine features the King Kong Room, which doubles as a private party room for up to 40 guests and London’s personal shrine to his favorite movie and comic book.

The restaurant can seat up to 152 people and includes a 30-seat bar. The outdoor patio will have additional seating in the spring.

Carolina Kitchen is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday through Saturday from 11 a.m. until midnight.

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Carolina Kitchen. 2350 Washington Pl. NE; (301) 927-2929; thecarolinakitchen.com.

Photos by Raphaella Baek