By Kate Oczypok - 09/23/10 11:25 PM EDT
Keith Treyball, director of operations for BLT restaurants, said the mission of Casa Nonna on Connecticut Ave. is to provide creature comforts to D.C. denizens.
“We’re here to continue the tradition of the celebration of family at the dinner table,” Treyball said. “It’s the whole sitting down at Grandma’s house on a Sunday afternoon with a bowl of meatballs and salad.”
Treyball said Casa Nonna is very much a BLT restaurant.
“We’re changing the cuisines, but service is as important here as it is at BLT Steak,” Treyball said, noting that the steakhouse sits only blocks away on I St.
Executive chef Amy Brandwein promises traditional, straightforward Italian food that is fresh and flavorful. Casa Nonna’s open, wood-style oven — reminiscent of a crackling fireplace — will warm customers during the chilly weeks ahead. Seats surround the ovens create a perfect setting to enjoy a fresh pizza such as the “Nonna,” with zucchini flowers, fried egg, tomato and mozzarella.
The restaurant, located between the Farragut North and Dupont Circle metros, is also a fun place to grab an after-work drink. With cocktails such as the Casanova, made with grapefruit-infused vodka and Sicilian lemonade, you might find yourself spending the majority of the night at the restaurant.
Save room for dessert, too, as many who’ve eaten at the restaurant call the doughnut holes made with lemoncello to die for.
“Maybe I shouldn’t be saying this just yet, but we do have the best cannolis in town,” Brandwein said with a smile.
Casa Nonna opened Sept. 15 for dinner only, but lunch is coming soon.
P.J. Clarke’s has been a New York City institution since 1884. With three separate spaces around the city and more than 100 years of history, P.J. Clarke’s has established itself as a neighborhood saloon.
Now, the restaurant is about to add a location downtown on the corner of K and 16th streets.
“We plan to use all local produce and hired a local D.C. chef,” said Emily Bilotti, director of private affairs for P.J. Clarke’s. “We spent a long time in our search for new spaces beyond the New York area, and we believe that D.C. is the right market.”
P.J. Clarke’s has had plenty of famous visitors throughout their history, including Frank Sinatra and Jackie O. Bilotti said the restaurant doesn’t plan to announce any future high-profile visitors in an effort to respect their privacy.
The new watering hole will also house a “P.J. Clarke’s Sidecar” in the downstairs portion of the restaurant. It will be less formal than the upstairs portion, which will be more elegant and will seat 160.
“We are a typical American saloon serving steak and seafood,” Bilotti said.
The restaurant’s menu also includes daily specials such as meatloaf and gravy or a lobster roll. The sidecar also has a full menu, including an extensive raw bar.
P.J. Clarke’s is hoping to open later this year. For more information about the restaurant, visit www.pjclarkes.com.