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Popular 14th Street boîte Bar Pilar has been slowing reemerging from its wintertime renovations over the past several weeks. First, the downstairs area reopened, serving only booze. Last week saw the return of the eatery’s reputed small plates. Now, as Urban Daddy reports, Pilar’s new upstairs dining room is just about ready to start seating patrons and serving up some full-fledged entrees, beginning this weekend. Here’s the new menu. One highlight: crispy skin suckling pig with homemade apple sauce, black bean and jus for $25.
UPDATE: Y&H just received the official word from Team Pilar. Read the full release, if you care to, after the jump.
Bar Pilar Reopens After Second Floor Expansion with Doubled Seating Availability and Expansive New Dining Room
Neighborhood Foodie Gem Opens its Doors after Two-Month Renovation with Expanded Menu Format, Increased Occupancy and New Cocktail Program
WASHINGTON, DC (March XX, 2012) – After two months of extensive renovations, 14th Street foodie gem Bar Pilar is excited to announce that it will reopen this weekend with a new second floor dining room. With doubled seating availability, an expansive new dining room and expanded menu, Bar Pilar’s award-winning fare can now be experienced more easily.
Before undergoing the two-month renovation, Bar Pilar was a small but always packed one-level, 49 seat eatery, where diners would endure long waits to score a table. Now, the neighborhood foodie hotspot boasts 98 seats, with a full dining room upstairs and the popular existing bar downstairs. The restaurant aimed to increase seating after the upstairs space became available.
The new Bar Pilar still has the same vibe but now features a staircase at the entryway, leading up to the second floor dining room. Guests may choose whether they want to enjoy a cocktail or beer and casual meal at the bar downstairs, or a more complete dining experience with an expanded new menu and extensive 25-craft cocktail menu upstairs in the dining room.
With a larger kitchen and more room to experiment, lauded Executive Chef Justin Bittner will expand Bar Pilar’s menu to include several more options for diners, depending on their mood. While Bittner’s loved cooking style will not change, the upstairs dining room menu will now offer appetizer, entrée and dessert options in addition to the restaurant’s famed small plates. The downstairs menu will remain the same as before the expansion, with many favorites like the Roasted Pork Shoulder with Garlic Trencher and Crispy Potatoes with Malt Aioli remaining mainstays.
“We’re excited to offer some larger plates upstairs for people who want a full dining experience,” said Executive Chef Justin Bittner. “We’ll offer a selection of entrees using a lot more whole animals, we’re getting back into offal, but of course we’ll keep the favorites that our regulars love.”
In terms of appetizers, Bittner’s new menu features dishes like Catalan style snails with North Carolina country ham, red wine tomato glace, herb bread crumbs; Crispy fried pig ears with English peas, pea shoots, pickled sweet onions, tangerine vinaigrette and Littleneck clams with roasted garlic, olive oil, lemon, parsley, rustic toast. Bittner’s larger entrees will include plates such as the Crispy skin suckling pig with house made apple sauce, black beans, natural jus, Roasted pheasant with creamy sherry sauce, poached grapes, wild rice, green beans, and a massive Grilled porterhouse for 2 with whipped potatoes, creamed spinach.
The beverage program at Bar Pilar will also feature an expanded wine, beer and cocktail list. The beer and wine program will see the addition of several craft brews and wines by the glass. The upstairs dining room will also feature an intimate six-seat bar with an extensive 25-drink cocktail list broken down into categories such as “Classics”, “Hemingway Cocktails” and some of General Manager and Beverage Director Jonathan Fain’s own specialty cocktails. Using housemade bitters, tonics and even their own sugar cane juicer, Pilar’s bar is taking craft cocktails to the next level.
The upstairs dining room décor remains consistent with Bar Pilar’s eclectic design and features a wall adorned in antique stained doors, ornate Cuban tiles and unique art murals from local artists. The veneer grade cherry wood for the tabletops has come from Chef Bittner’s father’s own forest in Pennsylvania, while the floors and other wood come from Amish farms in Maryland and PA. The exposed brick walls pop with three Hemingway-inspired murals painted by artist Beth Ross from West Virginia.
Logan Circle-based firm StudioSmith designed the new dining room at Bar Pilar. Led by principal Bill Smith, StudioSmith was founded in 2008 on the principle that smart design, contextual cohesion and modern technology can yield great architecture accessible to everyone. StudioSmith takes inspiration from modern culture, local history, detailed craftsmanship, and economies of scale, use and budget. StudioSmith is smart design for modern life. More information about StudioSmith is available online at studiosmith.com.
About Bar Pilar
Bar Pilar is a friendly neighborhood restaurant and bar in the Mid-City area of Washington, DC that takes a fresh approach to dining and cocktails. Bar Pilar’s eclectic menu is inspired by supporting local farms and New American cuisine. The restaurant’s focus is fresh, seasonal, and organic produce. Their simple yet adventurous dishes satisfy a wide range of palates and add a unique touch to the neighborhood. More information on Bar Pilar can be found online at www.barpilar.com.
Photo by Chris Shott