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The new proprietor of the old Adams Mill Bar & Grill space in Adams Morgan thinks he’s landed in a pretty great location—-but he’s also in a tough spot, perception-wise.

“We know that Adams Mill had a certain reputation,” says Anthony Lupo, co-owner of the forthcoming restaurant Southern Hospitality. “It’s a hard situation because we don’t want to lose those neighborhood people at all. We’re obviously going to be a much different place but we also don’t ostracize those people that wanted to come there and that we believe will come to our place, too. It’s different. But we still want to be a staple neighborhood bar.”

By the numbers: the new restaurant will have around 160 seats, including both high and low tops; around 30 wines by the glass and between 10 to 12 beers on tap. Small plates will cost around $10; bigger entrees will run “into the 20’s,” says Lupo. The restaurant will be open for lunch, he assures Y&H, which is somewhat rare in the nightlife-centric neighborhood.

As previously reported, the D.C. eatery will have no affiliation with the New York barbecue chain of the same name—-nor any creative connection to pop singer Justin Timberlake. “No J.T. over here,” Lupo laughs.

He describes the menu as “American fare with a Southern flair,” but declined to get into specifics. “We’re just kind of putting the menu together now,” he says. The restaurant has enlisted a chef but Lupo is keeping the name under wraps for the moment.

Similarly, there is no set opening date, though Lupo says he’s aiming for “right around the end of the year,” provided everything falls into place with permits, construction, and the usual rigmarole of opening a restaurant in D.C. “Definitely running on all cylinders post-New Year,” he predicts.

“It’s a great space,” Lupo says of the location at the intersection of 18th Street, Columbia and Adams Mill roads. “I look it at as one of the better corners in D.C….Given the future, with Marriott and some of these other restaurants coming in, it’s going to be great.”

Adams Morgan has long been a rather dubious dining destination and a magnet for the city’s less experienced operators. (City Paper‘s original Young & Hungry columnist, Brett Anderson, now the food critic at the New Orleans Times-Picayune, wrote about this all the way back in 1998.)

Lupo looks at some of the most recent additions to the 18th Street retail strip, particularly the arrival of Atlanta-based pizza chain Mellow Mushroom, as evidence that the food part of the neighborhood’s eating and drinking scene might finally be coming into its own. “We did a pretty intense demographic study in the area,” he says, “and there’s a reason those people are coming in. It’s a great, great neighborhood with tons of potential.”

Logo courtesy of Southern Hospitality