Check Out Ten Tigers Parlour Replacing Chez Billy in Petworth – Grand Opening Saturday

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3813 Georgia Avenue, NW

Back in August many of us were saddened to learn that the OG Chez Billy in Petworth had closed and would be reopening with a new concept. Having seen the new space and tasted the new concept, while I always will be a bit nostalgic for the old days, I’m super excited because Chef Tim Ma is the man and I freaking love pot stickers!!

Those who still lament the loss of Chez Billy may remain saddened by some of the interior changes (however: an even better renovated back patio will be coming this spring.) But those who love good food for a good price in a cool space will be very very happy.

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For those not familiar with the background of Ten Tigers:

“Ian and Eric Hilton, together with partners Scott Herman and Chef Tim Ma are set to open Ten Tigers Parlour, a neighborhood tea house and bar on December 10 in Petworth. Located in the former Chez Billy space at 3813 Georgia Avenue, NW, the Ten Tigers Parlour will feature an eclectic menu of cocktails, teas, Asian-style street food and pastries throughout the day and evening.

The concept of Ten Tigers Parlour is inspired by the Chinese cultural influences, where tea houses traditionally serve as the community gathering place not only to eat, but to connect. “It has always been our goal to create a great neighborhood spot for people; an extension of their living rooms,” says partner Ian Hilton.

Chef Tim Ma, of Kyirisan, Water & Wall and Chase the Submarine has developed a menu of casual favorites, inspired by dishes he enjoyed as a young child. “I want to present food that is close to my heart, said Chef Tim Ma. It’s great to be able to offer simple dishes that require technique, but are unpretentious and just tasty.” The menu is crafted around a selection of handmade Soup Dumplings ($12), a popular dish not easily found in town. There will be handmade Bao Buns ($9), Pan-Fried Dumplings ($7), a selection of noodles ($11 each), Rice Donburi ($10) and more of Chef Ma’s childhood favorites. Pastry Chef Mollie Bird has designed a offering of Chinese pastries for Ten Tigers that includes egg tarts, sesame balls, almond breads and other specialties.

The Victorian-era décor, complete with replicas of ancient Chinese paintings, original tile floors, and dark wooden beams, provides a sultry yet cozy environment, reminiscent of a late 19th century opium den. “We want to create a comfortable place with a unique vibe that is hard to come by in DC,” said co-owner and former U Street Music Hall general manager Scott Herman.
Ten Tigers’ beverage program offers an assortment of boba tea, Vietnamese coffee, and Thai iced tea in addition to French press coffee and an expanding list of hot teas. Specialty cocktails – all priced at $10 each – include the Mekhong Manhattan (sweet vermouth, honey, Angostura bitters, orange peel), 13 Pell (Tito’s vodka, lychee liquor, cranberry juice, lime slice), Singapore Sling (Plymouth gin, cherry brandy, sweet and sour, club soda, grenadine), Lychee Martini (lychee liquor, Three Olives vodka, lychee juice); and Canton Alley (Four Roses Yellow bouron, ginger liquor, grapefruit juice, black vinegar, candied ginger, lime slice).

At approximately 3,200 square feet, Ten Tigers will accommodate patrons across two levels, plus additional bar seats and a back patio that will be open to guests during warmer months. The main floor features a large bar and two spacious areas, while a second bar and dining/private events area can be found on the upper level. The tea house will open daily at 11 a.m. with the kitchen closing at 9 p.m. between Sunday and Thursday, and at 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The bar will remain open until 2 a.m. on Thursday and through 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

For more information, please visit www.tentigersDC.com or find the team on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) at @TenTigersDC.”

More shots of the space:

Upstairs with a bit of an Eighteenth Street Lounge vibe:

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First floor booths gone with a much more open feel.  There will also be outlets added and free wifi for those who wish to come in early and enjoy some tea (they’ll be open at 11am weekdays.)

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First floor bar side:

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With another Eighteen Street Lounge vibe:

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And delicious, delicious pot stickers.

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There is soup in this bun. Soup!  And obviously it was delicious too:

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You’ll be able to rent out part of the second floor for events too:

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60 Comment

  • Yikes. That exterior paint job.

    • I actually like that exterior paint color. It looks fresh and clean (on my monitor at least). I haven’t seen it in person, so I could be dead wrong.

    • I think it’s a primer. Today they are painting little details into the brick, changing a couple areas of color, etc., so it’s not all green

  • Cannot wait – love the decor, menu, chef, and of course the Hilton brothers. Although it’s sad to see Chez Billy leave, this will be a great replacement.

    • So sad that Chez Billy is gone. Not super keen on the exterior color, but I’d be willing to give this place a try, menu looks great and the interior is nicely done.

  • Really excited for this place! SOUP DUMPLINGS

  • The menu and cocktails sound good, but to beat Chez Billy will be a challenge.
    And I really hate the benches with tables that are at knee height where the nice booths used to be. I’ll have to lean over a short table and crouch to slurp my noodles, that’s not very inviting.
    I do look forward to soup dumplings though, but I guess I’ll sit at the bar to eat them.

  • Looks promising overall, but I’m surprised they changed the exterior of the building — especially because I thought it had some kind of historic designation where they had been obliged to restore the facade to how it looked when it was Billy Simpson’s.

    • Is that really true? I’m all for preservation of something like lincoln’s cottage. But preservation of some cheesy stucco and faux Tudor beams because a building was a restaurant for about 15 years in the 60s is overkill. Historic preservation folks are ruining our city.

      • It was landmarked for its association with black political leaders during the Civil Rights Movement. It was a sort of headquarters for political action. Not all history is white.

        • you can’t win an argument simply by accusing people of being racist. This is why people voted for trump.

          Making this building a landmark is obviously dumb. The Wendy’s across the street has more cultural significance.

      • Preservation preserves not just buildings but also history and culture of a neighborhood or city. Buildings/Sites can become landmarks for a number or reasons – it is not just about the significance of the architecture. In this case, Billy Simpson’s House of Seafood and Steaks was nominated as a Landmark for DC and on the National Register for the following criteria: Property is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad pattern of our history; and Property associated with the lives of persons significant in our past. Give the nomination a read…it’s a great look into the history of this area and time.
        https://www.nps.gov/nr/feature/weekly_features/2009/Simpsons_House_of_Seafood.pdf

      • Maybe their restoring the facade to how it looked when it was Billy Simpson’s was a voluntary thing, but somehow I had it in my head that it was a requirement because of the historic designation. I skimmed the registration from requesting historic designation from the NPS (https://www.nps.gov/nr/feature/weekly_features/2009/Simpsons_House_of_Seafood.pdf ), which describes what the facade looked like when it was Billy Simpson’s, but didn’t see anything about whether the designation necessitated restoration of the facade and subsequent maintenance of it in that style.
        .
        In any event, from comparing the photo of the current facade with the one from a previous PoPville post (http://www.popville.com/2016/08/chez-billy-has-closed-for-a-decor-refresh-in-petworth/ ), it looks like they painted over the carefully patterned brick section on the left (north) side of the first floor’s exterior. That’s a pity; the brick looked cool like that, plus unpainted brick is easier to maintain than painted brick.

        • Yes – because it is a landmark, the building would be subject to review and it is not recommended to paint masonry buildings that are landmarks. It looks like the developers did not get any permits to do any of this work. It should be returned to way it looked at the time of its designation.

        • Painted brick is much easier to maintain than unpainted brick. Anyone who tells you otherwise is parroting historic preservation orthodoxy and hasn’t actually owned a house with painted and unpainted brick surfaces for any length of time.

          • I thought the deal was that painted brick has to be repainted every 10 years or so, whereas unpainted brick has to be repointed once every 100 years. No?

          • Correction: “whereas unpainted brick needs its mortar to be repointed”

  • Did they get rid of the fireplace? That was a HUGE reason we would go to Chez Billy. If they took it out – can’t tell from that photo, but it appears they might have – then there’s one more reason for me not to return.

  • “…reminiscent of a late 19th century opium den.” Sounds great, those places were awesome. Restaurateurs of the 22nd century take note: late 20th century crack houses gonna be hot!

  • I hope they do well! But sad to see it looks like they got rid of the fireplace? That is such a bummer. Just the fireplace alone was enough to lure us into the bar for a few drinks/snacks when it was Chez Billy. I also dunno about the dining room set up…those benches and low tables don’t look very comfortable. But we will certainly give them a try.

    • There are still 2 fireplaces. The one on the ground floor was moved to the back yard to help open up the are around the bar. It looks great back there and we think you’ll love it once we finish renovating back there. The 2nd floor fireplace is still there and has seating that will make it easier for more people to gather around it.

  • So excited that more places in this neighborhood are opening during lunchtime!

  • northeazy

    Sad that once again a restaurant selling boas is going with baozi. Where can a man get some gua bao. Chaplin’s and Toki have them thankfully, but not sure the obsession with baozi in DC. Something like NYC’s Baohaus would make a killing in DC. Oh well. Still looks like an awesome place and I may just venture ALL THE WAY to Petworth to check it out.

  • I could see 4 or 5 tigers, but TEN?

  • I’m excited about the food, but it’s disappointing that they never really paid proper tribute to the historic Billy Simpson’s Restaurant, after which Chez Billy was named.

  • I don’t think I’ll ever get over the loss of Chez Billy. 🙁

  • I met Tim a few weeks back at Mandu. Super cool dude. He and his team were there and were really excited about 10 Tigers opening. Can’t wait to try it!

  • justinbc

    This is significantly more enticing to me than Chez Billy ever was. I hate the exterior color, how atrocious. Here’s hoping it’s better in person and just doesn’t photograph well. Proper execution of soup dumplings is quite tricky, I’ll be surprised if the team can execute it to Tim Ma’s standards when he’s not around. Definitely a nice addition to the neighborhood though!

    • When Tim Ma’s not around, Tim Pa will be there to oversee the delicate process of making the soup dumplings.

      • Definitely like the menu, but not sure about the seating. Are there normal tables and booths? Can’t imagine taking friends or family to dinner and having to eat on a couch or wicker bench. Or is this not a dinner place anymore???

  • But have they fixed the fire alarm issue?

  • I’ll give this place a fair shot, but I can’t get over what a poor decision this whole redesign is. There was nothing wrong with Chez Billy, its patio or its menu and as one of the prior commentators said, that fireplace was its best draw. Everybody loved it just the way it was.

    Again, I’ll give it a fair shot, but the photos I’ve seen so far look hideous and there’s no way this is an improvement over CB. I can’t believe this is what we get after they dropped all this time and cash on redesigning it.

    • yes – and while I see that their concept of Chinese tea house includes loungy furniture and low tables, it looks incredibly uncomfortable for eating dinner. My guess is they will change up the furniture after the first few months. I get that they are aiming for a young hip clientele who likes cocktails – but they will quickly see that they will get that PLUS lot of families in the Petworth area, so may want to have some more comfortable and family friendly seating.

  • $12 for 2 handmade soup dumplings? No, thank you.

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