City Paper is not for tourists
The Gryphon will downplay its sports bar component when the Dupont restaurant reopens the first week of October, after more than three months of renovations and conceptual changes. Co-owner Tony Hudgins describes the retooled Gryphon as a loungy “high-energy steakhouse.”
Hudgins admits that The Gryphon’s March opening was rushed. Construction had already delayed the opening, and the team didn’t want to miss out on March Madness business. “We probably—and we’re not afraid to say it—shot ourselves in the foot opening at that point,” Hudgins says. “Service just wasn’t up to par.” Hudgins, along with co-owners Rich Vasey and David Karim, also quickly realized that they needed to make some conceptual adjustments and closed the restaurant in mid-June to make changes. “The reopening is really a refocus on who we actually are,” Hudgins says.
As such, the sports bar will no longer be a main focus. The restaurant has ditched about a fifth of its TVs and covered some of those remaining with framed mirrors that can be removed if they need the screens for special events. The restaurant’s owners have also tried to better sectionalize the dining area, so there are more intimate spaces and diners aren’t overwhelmed by the bar scene. Dark chocolate wood covers the walls for a “warmer” look, says Hudgins, and some of the antler chandeliers remain. The facade is also getting a facelift with a collapsible glass wall that can open up to an outdoor patio.
The food offerings will look a little different, too. The steak- and fish-heavy menu will be nearly identical to that of The Gryphon’s sister restaurant, Lost Society, with the addition of a raw bar and more seafood. Chef Joseph Evans, a veteran of Smith & Wollensky, oversees both kitchens. The wine list will also be nearly the same as that of Lost Society with a few extra bottles, plus 20 to 25 craft beers.
The Gryphon will be open for lunch, dinner, and brunch right out of the gate. Previously, it was only open for dinner.
The Gryphon, 1337 Connecticut Ave. NW; (202) 827-8980; thegryphondc.com
Photo via The Gryphon