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Maybe you’ve noticed the new three-starred signage in the window—-or, more strikingly, the sudden disappearance of the old pink and purple facade at the old Jandara space in Woodley Park. Chef Drew Trautmann‘s new District Kitchen is inching ever closer to opening. “We’re supposed to get a health inspection on Friday,” the former Mendocino and Sonoma toque tells Y&H. “After that, all we’ve got to do is get a restaurant license and do the final transfer of the liquor, get our food in here, get prepped up. A lot of our employees have worked with us before so the training period should be pretty minimal.”

If all goes as planned, the place should be open “before Christmas,” he says. “I will be so glad to be done with construction,” the chef-operator sighs. “I enjoy the cooking aspect of it.”

The menu will change weekly.

Early reports on the concept drew comparisons to Baltimore’s Woodberry Kitchen. But Trautmann insists the place will have its own distinct vibe: “I like Woodberry Kitchen. I respect what they do. I’ve been doing this for a long time, too, though. This idea has been in my head for longer than Woodberry Kitchen has been around. It just takes a long time to put something like this together.”

Photo by Chris Shott