Huge News For The Park Place Project Going Up Above The Petworth Metro!

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Chef Gillian Clark formerly of Colorado Kitchen has signed a letter of intent to open up a restaurant in one of the spots! I think this is phenomenal news. The restaurant will be called the Meeting Place and will feature “classically southern” food. Oh man, this is going to be sweet! From a press release:

Washington, DC – December 8, 2008 – Asadoorian Retail Solutions announced today that local celebrity chef Gillian Clark has signed a letter of intent for 4,000 square feet at Park Place. This will be the 4th location operated by Clark in the Greater Washington, DC Metropolitan Area.

Under development by Donatelli Development and scheduled for delivery in 2009, Park Place is a mixed-use development with 161 residential condominiums and 15,000 square feet of retail space. Located atop the Petworth Metro Station, at the intersection of Georgia and New Hampshire Avenues, NW, Park Place anchors the gateway to Petworth, an energetic community that is on the rise with many new developments underway. “Our goal is to develop a destination shopping and dining environment that offers high-quality and unique retail choices for the neighborhood.” states Chris Donatelli, President of Donatelli Development. “We have received a positive response from the market on our plans and securing the interest of Gillian creates a great anchor for the project.”

No stranger to the Petworth area, Clark is a ten year resident of the neighborhood. Coupled with a resume of seven restaurant openings under her belt, she knows food and she knows the neighborhood. “I am thrilled at the opportunity to open a restaurant at Park Place. It is an exciting project in a dynamite location.” states Clark. “I understand what food means to people, and I know what is missing in this area. The menu of the new restaurant will be classically southern, illustrating the trend to environmentally friendly cooking, a characteristic of the Southern food way. It will be a celebration of food in its simple forms and traditional cooking methods that make simple ingredients sublime. We’re going to breathe life into a food tradition that has been not given its full due in these parts and I think there is a great population of folks that are going to appreciate that.” Continues after the jump.

The Meeting House will occupy the highly visible corner of the building, with soaring ceilings approaching 20 feet. The space will be light filled with food icons in stained glass and the ceiling framed in wood beams to evoke the feeling of a gathering place built for worship. It will be spacious and light-filled and will be the appropriate venue to house a very open dining and serving concept.

The menu will be an adventure featuring: farm raised catfish, beef short ribs, fresh gulf shrimp, rabbit, crayfish, trout, pheasant, and pigs feet. The bar will bring back the classic cocktail tradition by featuring mixology based upon original recipes and almost forgotten methods.

59 Comment

  • Hey, that’s great news! I’ve certainly missed Colorado Kitchen (mm, burger night)

  • OK, I was having a crappy day and then I saw this. Thank you POP. Thank you.

  • Maybe the time off gave her time to cure her dour attitude. I do love the food and the beer list though.

  • I do love the food and the beer list, but I hope the time off gave her time to cure her dour attitude.

  • so much that I say it twice!

  • I second that…or maybe third and fourth?

  • Fantastic!

  • saf

    Yeah, I love the food, but the bad service and the nasty attitude she has toward her customers means this is nothing but the ability to be treated like dirt closer to home.

  • That’s cool. I’ve been wanting to try their food. I’ve never been there before so I can’t comment on the service, but good Southern good is good Southern food to me.

    I’m curious to know when they estimate finishing construction on the Park Place building, and when it’ll be open for rent/business!

  • “Good Southern food is good Southern food,” I meant.

  • Great! So everything will be deep fried? Excellent. More fat is what we need! :)

    Hopefully the rent in this space is high enough that she cannot affort to treat people like crap anymore.

  • Hi Guys — it’s the developer of the building, Chris Donatelli. I wanted to add that this restaurant will be located in the southern-most portion of the building (POP’s above photo captures exactly where it will be). It is very cool space as it has high-ceilings, is built along a curved radius, has a good deal of glass, and we are working to add a deck for outdoor seating.

    Thanks for your comments and feedback.

    We look forward to making more announcements in the coming months.

  • Again, echo this is great news. She knows how to cook and I imagine the menu will be tasty, plus it is a niche that stands out in this area. Being right above the metro should attract people from outside the neighborhood as well, so long as the quality is there. I will echo the point others are making that, while I hope she is in charge of menu. Ms. Clark hires a reallllly good restaurant manager — I had slow / indifferent service the few times I went to Colorado Kitchen, and the hours were so sporadic and tables hard to get that it wasn’t really worth the trouble. If the caliber of the food is equal or better, and the restaurant is more professionally managed (as it will need to be to survive in such a HUGE space), I and many others will be regular customers.

  • This is promising news. My hope is that Ms. Clark makes an attempt to reach out to EVERYONE in the community. Not to sound the “gentrification” gong again, but it would be a shame to pass up on the opportunity to bring people together and capitalize on the diversity present in our wonderful community, which is something that is lacking in other new restaurant-established neighborhood marriages like the Heights in Columbia Heights, for example.

  • The problem with The Heights is that the food simply isn’t good, alas. It also lacks any sort of theme or identity of any kind. But I would guess, newhampave, that a southern food place will accomplish exactly what you are asking for. By the way, other than menu offerings and pricing, how exactly is a restaurant supposed to “bring people together”? Sounds nice in theory, but people are going to eat what they want to eat based primarily on menu choices, food quality, and price point. Ruby Tuesday, for example, takes no conscious steps to “bring people together” yet it features a very diverse clientelle.

    So what else is going into Park Place? I seem to recall Mocha Hut, but don’t recall any other announcements (Yes Organic maybe, but I thought that was in a different building?). When is Park Place projected to open?

    Between this project, the safeway, the CVS, the project(s) across the street, and the heights on georgia avenue (which according to DCMud just received its tiff funding) the Petworth metro area is really coming together as it should: high density housing, mix of different income levels (the heights I believe is low-to-moderate income), with ground floor retail. The only delay is on the city’s end, where the great streets project is basically indefinitely delayed. From what I understand, they are waiting to coordinate with Howard, which seems ridiculous to me, this plan has been approved by the community and in place for years now. By the time Howard finally figures out what it wants to do, it could be years more until the great streets construction even begins. Which is a shame considering everything else that is happening on middle georgia ave.

  • Great news. I loved and miss Colorado Kitchen, but it lacked this location’s square footage and Metro access. Plus the kitchen can be built-out to the Chef’s specifications. I can already smell sweet success (and scrambled eggs and grits)…

  • Chris Donatelli received a lot of free “advice” when he posted here on PoP earlier about the development of this project. I’d like to congratulate him on finding a near-perfect match between development and neighborhood.

    And remember folks, it’ll be up to us (those located in and around the neighborhood) to support this restaurant until the area becomes a consistent destination.

  • Aye, Ian, and we will certainly be regular customers, and in addition to the Mocha Hut, it will truly be a meeting place where there is currently none. We need to find out if there will be a need for community input regarding the desired patio and perhaps a liquor license of some sort. This is a good solution though. Hopefully they can get their food priced into the middle range, and the entire neighborhood will line up.

  • Can anyone comment on why the delays with the Great Streets Program are happening – is the hold up something besides funding? I for one am thrilled that Petworth is soon to be a destination for people from all over the city, we love it here and can’t wait to support the new retail developments.

  • Anyone remember the prices at the CO Kitchen? A $17 pork chop, while admittedly delicious, won’t exactly “bring everyone together.” Also, what about Southern cooking is environmentally friendly?

    Not to be that guy, but what happened to the carryout she was talking about opening in Silver Spring?

  • i’m done with this idea that just because something is local then we all should support it… no matter what. of course i want to support my local businesses, but only if their service and quality is comparable to competitors. i refuse to eat at co kitchen just so taht i can say i support local business. if you treat me like sh** then i’m not going to frequent your establishment – it’s pretty simple.

  • This is terrible news! The way she treats customers in inexcusably abusive and I don’t plan to patronize her establishment. I’m looking forward to hearing about other stores and will support those.

  • i had been to Co Kitchen several times and maybe i was just lucky but can people start giving ACTUAL stories about the Chefs abusive nature? i always hear this vague sentiment about how aweful she is but have never heard an actual account. Im not doubting they exist. they must for so many people to feel this way but I want some first hand accounts.

  • I’m just wondering why people think that in a 4,000 sq ft. restaurant they are going to have regular, direct interaction with the head chef.

    And that being said, how many great chefs are known for their pleasant demeanor?

  • Awesome food, great location, surly chef… I’ll never be able to get a seat again, haha.

  • People might be talking about her general unwillingness to make all kinds of substitutions to her menu items. I have no opinion on that, because I’ve never wanted or needed to make a substitution. The service wasn’t exactly slow when I’d go there, but it was kind of inept, I guess. But I didn’t care; I just went there for the food. It’s not like I”ve gotten stellar service at Looking Glass Lounge or Sweet Mango Cafe.

    I’d generally reserve the term “abusive” for someone who comes out of the kitchen and smacks people with a spoon, but, whatever. You can’t please everyone. Her former restaurant was quite popular, so some people considered the food worth the fact that you couldn’t normally subsitute the mashed potatoes for the green beans or something like that.

    I hope this is successful.

  • I just hope she still makes those dougnuts…they alone were worth waiting for a table for brunch.

  • Awesome! I was hoping we wouldn’t be getting any awful chain restaurants (e.g. Ruby Tuesday) in our location, and this is a step in the right direction!

  • This is great news. I am not a big soul food fan. But I am happy to hear the news.

  • Great news! Another dining option will be welcome. But I was under the impression that the project had been converted to high-end rentals. The blurb refers to it as condominiums.

  • Can’t wait to try the new restaurant. I didn’t get a chance to eat at Colorado Kitchen before it closed, but I had heard good things about the food. I definitely think this is a step in the right direction for Petworth. And I am so excited this isn’t going to be a Chili’s or TGIFridays! (We wouldn’t have gotten a Ruby Tuesdays since there is one just down the street.)

  • Also, I heard this building WAS NOT going to be apartments. It is still on to be condo’s to be sold….can anyone confirm that? A real estate agent told me he was contacted last week about doing sales…..

  • Praise be… this is WONDERFUL news!! Good Southern cuisine in our own backyard, the food will be a true crowd pleaser. and glad to know Clark’s skillz will continue on from the Co Kitchen days, this time at a far more accessible location! Whether we like her people skills, or not, her cuisine does have the brand reliability that will attract people from outside the neighborhood to experience da good life in da ‘Worth!

  • I find the chatter about the “abusive” chef to be entertaining but I have no experience with her. This sounds like great news.

    Regarding the issue of keeping a neighborhood vibe, I agree it’s hard to pin down but I think the model for this is busboys and poets. the 14th Street corridor where busboys is located could be seen as a model for the future of Petworth. There is some major luxury construction mixed with older homes and probagbly one of the District’s over all most-diverse areas in terms of income and other demographics.

    By keeping prices reasonable and doing a variety of community events, I am always impressed by the diversity and over all happy feeling you get when you’re inside. The way it’s set up also helps: people from the neighbhorhood are welcome to lounge around with coffee to read, use laptops, etc, which gives it more of a neighborhood meeting place.

  • As if a surly chef will keep this crew away!

  • saf

    For those of you looking for specific information on her treatment of customers – my problem is not the “no substitutions” rule. While I find that needlessly strict, whatever. If she can’t allow reasonable substitutions and say no to unreasonable requests and needs a blanket policy, so it goes. Yeah, say no when someone says, “No greens, extra steak instead.” But when someone says, “Light on the pepper please,” why get all up in their faces? My problem with Colorado Kitchen was always that she seemed to feel that she was at war with her customers.

    For example, the list of rules. Yes, I get annoyed at bad behavior in restaurants too. But the list is treating your customers like children.

    And the salt/pepper shakers thing. I know it’s a treasured personal collection. So don’t put them where people can get them. When you set stuff out to use, you risk it getting broken. And for SURE don’t make a big production of taking the shakers away from families with kids. If you welcome them as customers, you welcome them as customers. Don’t treat them as second class citizens.

    Or perhaps the whole refusing to admit you might have made a mistake – like the time that our food came out inedibly wrong. No server ever checked on us, we would say “excuse me” to ask for help and be ignored, and it took half an hour to get a server to acknowledge us. She then took away the plate, never brought a corrected dish, and when we asked to speak to the manager, Ms Clark told us she didn’t have the time to deal with us.

    By now anyone who has read my postings has probably figured out that I am radical on the subject of buying locally, avoiding big chains, and supporting the neighborhood. But I am not going to support this place. I gave them enough chances in the last spot, and was rewarded by being poorly treated over and over again. The food was SOOOOO good that we put up with much more from the front of the house staff than we should have. Nope, not going to put up with being treated like that again.

    You want to see how she feels about cutomers? Here:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/liveonline/03/regular/food/sietsema/r_food_sietsema043003.htm

    http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=48308

    http://www.donrockwell.com/index.php?showtopic=301

  • Chris Donatelli –

    Any hints on what’s to come???

    :-)

  • Great news! When do we think the development is going to spread down GA Ave? I’m tired of all those empty storefronts.

  • I looked into buying the building across the street from here. Price was too high and since the owner owns both buildings (the fried chix place & next door), any development will likely hinge on when these properties get developed.

  • Complaints about abusive restauranteurs/chefs usually center around the idea that the customer doesn’t realize they are in a privately owned establishment, and there is no right or expectation that they will make your food however you want it.

    For example, before Pasta Mia became impossible to get into, I heard many stories from people who worked there about the chef’s rages. Witnessed a few myself. The situations were typically: customer returns food because it wasn’t hot (meaning: they sat and finished their 15 minute conversation after it was placed in front of them). The customer demanded a substitution or special preparation despite the unavailability of such being clearly indicated as well as the waiter warning them it just wasn’t going to happen. The customer sent back something which was exactly what they ordered because they didn’t like it. Result: Customer was told that they could have it they way it was offered, or they could leave.

    While some restaurants will cater to a customer’s every whim, there is no rule that say you must do that. When you are a one-man operation, offering good, moderately priced food, in fact, it’s pretty much impractical to do so.

    So the bottom line is, if you want it “your way” then go somewhere else! But it’s hardly fair to walk in somewhere where you don’t agree with the way they run their business, and then complain when they decline to change it just for you. Just take it or leave it.

    Anyway, the point is I always take these reports restauranteurs abusing their customers with a lot of skepticism, since more often than not the customer was asking for something that wasn’t offered.

  • I guess Jamie has never heard of “the customer is always right.” Listen, I almost never send something back, and rarely complain, usually I just decline not to eat there again. And there are plenty of jerk customers. But when a place gets MULTIPLE complaints from multiple people, there is usually something behind it. The only place I stopped going to in D.C. because of rudeness, out of many, many places I eat at, for example, was Dos Gringos, if I am paying out of my pocket to patronize your place, I expect you to be reasonably nice to me — nothing wrong with that. Again, I have certainly seen rude, jerky customers — all of us probably have. But usually places that have a reputation for mistreating customers actually earn it through consistent, repeated bad behavior. If D.C. didn’t have such a crappy restaurant scene, no place like that would ever survive, I just hope as more and more restaurants open in the city, it will drive the places with low-quality food, no inkling of customer service, or which are wayyy overpriced out of business. Just like in every other service industry, the customer is always right.

  • I agree Jamie- But just want to say that Pasta Mias is the most overrated restaurant in DC. people think its good because of the line i guess. but everytime I have been I leave scratching my head. why do people think this place is so good im thinking as I scratch. and I think its just the air of exclusivity. if they accepted reservations I think suddenly people would see it for the mediocre restaurant that it is.

  • Not to beat a dead horse… but, while I agree that it is hard for a restaurant to “bring people together,” it is possible. Look at what the Red Derby has done. I’ve had many conversations with the owners, who almost always are on hand to chat people up. They are warm, welcoming, and are a part of the community… not apart from it. As a result, there is a growing group of regulars who congregate there and have gotten to know one another. If this new place has an outside patio, I see it as a great place to sit outside, have a drink, and get to know my neighbors. The restaurant could also sponsor/host/cater community events (what a great place from which to the watch the Caribbean Festival). Basically, I just hope that it’s not just a restaurant that happens to be in Petworth.

  • Good news. I always enjoyed my meals at Colorado Kitchen… never experienced any surliness.

  • Fabulous! I have missed Colorado Kitchen since its closing I am glad I will have “replacement” basically on my door step. Here’s to Petworth!!! (-:

  • Am I the only person who’s more excited about the idea of a new bar rather than a new restaurant? I used to really like Temperance Hall. Then it became Looking Glass. Since the change the service and crowds have been awful. I miss going there to see Dan, but that’s about it. Here’s to hoping that The Meeting House attracts an older, diverse crowd of people from the neighborhood. Let Looking Glass remain the hangout it has become for the little kiddies who are slumming it from Columbia Heights and Adams Morgan. I want a neighborhood bar again!
    And Dan, if you’re reading this: When are you gonna open your own place??

  • I tried to be a customer of CK as it was close to my house. One time I met a friend there, I was a few minutes early and he was a few minutes late. I planned on passing the time with their expensive sodas. I informed the waiter, who in my informed opinion was on heroin or ludes, as I sat down, and got an exasperated sigh even though the place was totally empty. I got my initial $5 soda, then another after 10 minutes or so, and then my friend showed up. After that the waiter decided my friend and I weren’t worth walking across the room to take our order, and things went downhill from there. In the following weeks I tried eating there a few more times, they were always closed for unknown reasons. I finally made it in one more time, and made the mistake of inquiring about burgers on a non-burger night. I was snippily told by chef that perhaps I’d be happier at the carry-outs. Thus ended my attempts at patronizing a mediocre establishment run by a true bitch. So, for the new place, I hope chef stays in the kitchen and a non-misanthrope runs the front.

    The last complaint I had was the portion sizes. To quote that commercial, it was like elf food. I understand quality and moderation and all, but c’mon. I go out to eat, not taste.

  • When Komi first opened on 17th, he was yet to get famous and offered a mixed menu of very cheap and semi-expensive meals. As his reputation developed, it became one of the highest rated spots in the city. Throughout, we were always thrilled with the quality of the staff he or his manager developed. Chef Clark should make a point of meeting with him to learn about his secret. No matter what, I look forward to having an experienced chef-owner who lives locally establish a good local presence.

  • Petworthian, agreed on LGL. The first mistake was changing the name / theme, which was the coolest of any bar in the city. Why screw up such a good thing?

    As for Dan, he is one of the four guys opening Room 11 on 11th Street, opening early 2009, and I belive he will often be behind the bar but certainly intimately involved in the operation, so your wish is about to come true …

  • I too find the rants against restaurants and bars entertaining. At the end of the day, we’re all entitled to our opinions about our own experiences. I went to Colorado Kitchen twice and received excellent food and service both times. If I had one complaint, it was that the portions could have been bigger. But I never experienced any snippy comments from the chef or from anyone else. So as far as I am concerned, I’m looking forward to the new restaurant and will definitely give it a try. Those of you who had a bad experience at Colorado Kitchen are more than entitled to boycott the new place. More room for me that way.
    By the way, if you want good Southern style food in Southern style portions, you should try The Hitchin Post, near the Armed Forces Retirement Home. But please, no b*tchin’ or moanin’ about the slow service and different people at the table getting parts of their meals at different times. That is the price you will pay for patronizing this small mom and pop place. If it’s not your thing, stay away. Like I said, more room for me.

  • Thanks for the Hitchin Post tip, I’ll check it out. I certainly don’t mind mistimed food and other mom-pop traits, if I want impeccable service I’ll go to a country club (after dealing arms to inflate my net worth). But for years I had a bad habit of insisting on giving my money to places that treated me rudely and such. I am recently on a kick of “no more!” If you want to treat me like I shouldn’t be there, then I won’t be. Note, this moment of realization came at a Haydees, FYI.

    Also, I believe the CK chef also has a new place opening in Takoma Park (Old Town), Maryland, fyi, in the old Talianos place.

  • I liked the food at Colorado Kitchen-but I also liked the fact that they/she didn’t let kids run all over the place. (Sorry, all you tres lax 21st century parents) My fear with the Takoma Park place is that it will be crowded with everyone’s “perfect, darling ” kids.

  • I’m sorry, but am I the only person who refuses to eat at Hitching Post simply because the place is filthy?

  • saf

    Reuben – I appreciate kids not being allowed to run wild. I hate to find myself in a place surrounded by brats. I also think that if you’re going to welcome kids you have to assume they will behave and deal with it when they don’t, not post long lists of rules and treat families with kids as if they were families with brats from the start.

    (seriously, I have no kids and don’t like the company of kids. I just think she sent some real mixed messages. The rules list for both kids and adults was simply insulting.)

  • I’ve been avoiding PoP for a long time now. I find a majority of people weighing in are so small-minded and self absorbed. More than that they are hypocrites. This thread is a glaring example. One person complained that Colorado Kitchen’s pork chop was $17. Yet on other threads great praise to Brightwood Bistro (who’s pork chop is also $17), and Domku ($18 chop). To the guy who claims to have paid $5 for a soda at CK, anyone who has had a soda there knows that is an outright lie.

    I was a brunch regular at Colorado Kitchen for years and watched one woman cook for over 100 people every brunch. Did she smile? No. But when I stopped by her window one Sunday to let her know how much I enjoyed my meal she graciously smiled and said, “thank you.”

    I’m thrilled she’s coming to my neighborhood. I know she’ll be just as successful on Georgia Ave. as she was on Colorado Ave. You can’t do what this woman does for a living and hate people. There is so much love and care in her food. And you all know I’m right.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    Way to start the New Year positively Phyllis… By the by most the comments in this thread are positive and looking forward to the new restaurant. If you chose to focus on the negative well that’s your choice I suppose. To call the majority of the people small minded and self absorbed is, well, not true. But we can agree to be happy that new restaurant is coming, yeah?

  • I second Davey on Bus Boys and Poets as a model. I love how that place attracts all kinds of people you never see together anywhere else in dc.

  • Are there any updates on The Meeting Place? I can’t find anything online more recent than ’08.

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