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The things you see when you actually get out of the office: Like the makeover of the former Felix and Spy Lounge spaces on 18th Street NW.
The Adams Morgan spot has morphed into a dual-concept establishment known as Savour (the restaurant) and Sutra (the bar/lounge), which is, according to the dude bringing boxes into the place this afternoon, scheduled to open on Friday.
Y&H did a little digging around on the new place and found this fascinating document (PDF) in which Christopher Wells, the owner of Savour/Sutra, faces some tough questioning from the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. I’ll let you read through that on your own, if you care to, since it’s rather personal.
The part that interests me is Wells’ plans for the space and the restaurant. Here’s what he told the ABC Board on Sept. 23:
MR. WELLS: New establishment is going to be a new American restaurant called Savour and a lounge called Sutra. I have an executive chef from the Phoenix Park Hotel in D.C. who is on board who will be making new American cuisine. He is Vietnamese so it should be a nice fusion of American and Asian cuisine.
MEMBER BROOKS: Will you have entertainment or music?
MR. WELLS: Yes, I will have music. The current license is allowed. The old Felix used to have jazz if you can remember and things like that. I hope to be doing some of that because it’s divided into two areas. It’s actually two buildings, 2406 and 2408. 2408 is the front structure with the shiny part. 2408 is the other side of the building. That part is going to be a complete dine-in restaurant. The barside is going to be bar and restaurant so it’s going to be formal seating and there’s going to be more lounge seating.
It’s not clear whether the reference to the Phoenix Park Hotel means that the chef worked at the Dubliner next door or did the room-service cooking.
Wells adds later in the hearing:
MR. WELLS: It’s going to be — I mean, I don’t know how — it’s going to be plainly visible once you see that the primary business is going to be food and entertaining people. It’s going to be both. There is going to be music. I mean, I told them I am going to have music. But, at the same time, it’s Adams Morgan. There are a lot of people in Adams Morgan who want to come eat and enjoy music in a social setting that is not just sitting and dining. I have both. You know what I mean? I’m catering to providing two completely separate areas under one umbrella, of course, but they are going to be in a very nice seated area. There are chandeliers and the like and the other side is going to be more seating and bar area where I will have some entertainment. I anticipate that it should be somewhere that people like to come and eat and enjoy themselves. The setting is going to be somewhere that the neighborhood will enjoy.
Wells also mentions that he has dropped more than $200,000 in renovating the space, which will have 198 seats. What’s more, he’s hired a maitre d’ from Rumba Cafe and Rumberos. Says Wells to the board:
MR. WELLS: Knowing Adams Morgan, like you mentioned, I brought in an executive chef who has eight years of being an executive chef, a sous chef, to run the kitchen. I brought him in to run the kitchen because his food has to be enticing enough to get people in the door. He is promising to do that. I also brought in a maitre d’ who was very popular on the block. He worked for Rumber Cafe and Rumberos. He is very, very, very well liked on the strip in Adams Morgan. You may know him. Anyway, I brought him on as the maitre d’ also to add to bringing people in the door, enticing people to come in the door and we are going to do a lot of specials and a lot of good food at a reasonable price. I think a lot of the food that you offer in Adams Morgan has to be well priced. People don’t go for high-priced meals. They go for a lot of affordable food. We see that from the diner who has done really well with its menu. We are trying to add the same size portions, things like that, and may put a little flair on it.
More as Y&H knows it.