More Sneak Previews – Policy (Restaurant and Lounge)

by Prince Of Petworth March 16, 2009 at 11:00 am 39 Comments


As I mentioned last week, Policy located at 14th and T, is set to open soon. And the place looks great. I was able to chat briefly with owner Omar Miskinyar who sent me a couple of photos and some info on the restaurant. The restaurant will open up for Thursday (March 19th), Friday and Saturday and the Lounge is booked for private events but will open to the public the following Thursday. I’m pretty excited to try this place out. The lounge area upstairs has some serious potential for a good hangout.


Folowing is the  press release from the designer, CORE:

“Policy is a modern interpretation of the classic diner, created through the use of iconic features such as red vinyl booths and metal finishes. Omar Miskinyar, the owner of Policy, wanted to create a hip and inviting restaurant with an upbeat tempo and exceptional design. CORE decided to use the colors and finishes typical of a diner to engage guests and help create a lively atmosphere.

Policy is situated near the corner of 14th and U streets in Washington, DC, where the trendy neighborhoods of Logan Circle and U Street converge. Complementing the neighborhood spirit of inclusion, vitality, and interest in food and art, the design for Policy is well suited to its surroundings.

As true with each of CORE’s designs Policy is one-of-a-kind. A grouping of Max lighting fixtures by Costa hang inside the front door like suspended raindrops greeting guests. The ground floor, which is the main dining area, has channeled leather booths, black tin ceiling panels, and glass tile that create the upscale diner environment. The red booths are wrapped in black millwork and tile and have inlaid lighting fixtures creating ample dining light while maintaining the dim atmosphere that is consistent throughout the restaurant. Continues after the jump.

A glowing yellow stair hall leads guests upstairs to the lounge, where steel fabricated architectural details and vinyl booths complement the décor used in the dining room but graffiti-tagged walls, an eclectic grouping of chandeliers, a marble and glass bar, and exposed structural and mechanical systems create a more open and airy space. Raised a few feet, the wood paneled sound booth and semi private seating areas emphasize the height of the room, for a more intimate lounge experience metal shears can be partly drawn closed.

CORE included playful details, such as the oversized pink and blue frosted exclamation points that demarcate the men’s and women’s bathroom doors, to reinforce the restaurant’s playful character. CORE restaurant design principal, Peter F. Hapstak, III, AIA, IIDA, ISP, explains the design process, “We had a lot of fun designing Policy and I think it shows in the details”. He continues, “Policy is great because the design and construction process was very collaborative and, in some ways, unconventional, the process was freeing”.”


  • Joel Lawson

    Got a tour last evening, and the place looks amazing. Top materials throughout, excellent kitchen gear, really jaw dropping throughout. Eagerly awaiting a new hot spot in the neighborhood.

  • JTS

    Can I go ahead and assume that this place is going to be impossible to have dinner with conversation at a reasonable volume? I am so tired of screaming my head off to hear a date at these places. DC restauranteurs -> Lots of energy does not mean it has to be loud. I don’t want to shout at my partner over LCD soundsystem while eating coconut shrimp, thank you.

  • WDC

    Looks like Jones Diner in Philadelphia. It was cute 5+ years ago.

    I’m a tad concerned that the press release is all about the interior decor, and not a word about the menu. Where are their priorities? Or is this the designer’s press release? Perhaps the restaurant will have its own?

  • Anonymous

    Does this place include the smaller grey building on the corner?

    I think it looks nice. If it’s not your cup of tea (ie probably gonna be loud), then just go to a quieter restaurant. Each place brings something different to the table, so to speak.

  • bad policy

    @ WDC, JTS –

    hear hear. People should not be celebrating a recreation of something that was moderately cool in Philly (to out of towners) more than five years ago. I know the exec chef has a decent resume, but this looks to be an image-only “restaurant.” blow your money if you must, but this ain’t hip, kids. when will we get some foodies to come and open up bunch of 10-12 table BYO restaurants with no names in english basements near intersections like 5th and N or North Capitol and U?

    For now, I’m sticking with Vegetate , Veranda , and Domku whenever I want to get my foodie on. If I want to pay 28 dollars for cliche sesame crusted ahi tuna and wasabi mayo and shout for three hours while waiting for a table, Policy sounds awesome.

  • Anonymous

    Top materials = pricey menu

  • ontarioroader

    Agreed – hard to imagine this place is going to be any more than style-over-substance, when the press release is just that.

  • Divine

    Oh my fucking god. Here we go. Everyone is going to jump on here and start trashing this because its “So five years ago” and ” We don’t need another one” and its just “Not cool anymore”

    If you don’t think you’re gonna like it, don’t go. By the way, I have some excellent cheese to go with that whine.

  • Dudes…”Folowing is the press release from the designer, CORE”.

    Did you really expect the DESIGNER to talk about the food, which they presumably have nothing to do with?

  • Prince Of Petworth

    Sorry about the confusion with press release, I updated that it was from CORE. Policy the restaurant will have its own press release shortly. I still thought the info was interesting.

  • Mr. Glass Half Empty.

    I agree. Let’s all stay home and eat veggie lasagna and drink PBR, thereby showing these short sighted, egomanical proprietors that their stylishly redone spaces that have thoughtlessly replaced all those derelict, run down, abandoned store fronts in the area are NOT WELCOME! Especially since we havent even tried their food or seen their price points, im more than certain our predictions based on nothing more than a desinger’s press release will be 100% accurate. YOU READ IT HERE FIRST.

  • WDC

    @ Divine, glass half empty: Just to be clear on your rules. We must not post here unless we’re in a tizzy of anticipation? Only positive comments that in no way imply that the concept is somehow unsuited to our preferences will be allowed? And there will be no mention of other restaurants which used this exact same concept, right?

    Thanks for adding the line about the press release being from the designer, PoP. I actually was confused.

  • Forget this chrome-plated echo chamber. I’m more interested in the $20 fried chicken place on U Street. Because $20 fried chicken is the new $15 hamburger.

  • bad policy

    @ POP –

    thanks. I was also confused.

    @ Divine, GHE

    nobody is all like “omg development is killing the authentic run down buildings or whatever,” so you can get rid of that idea. I am just frustrated by the fact that ever since the city was able to shake itself of its bad expense account steak house mentality, the prevailing approach among restauranteurs seems to be (in order of priority) 1. Hip 2. Bar 3. Loud 4. Menu. There are some diamonds in the rough in this city (aforementioned) but Policy is not nor will it be one of them. The fact that it has had a ridiculous, gaudy, flash website for months is all I need to say. This could easily be a nightclub in Jersey. I mean, it plays music. The grand opening image is a glass of wine + hottie.

    I’d like to be able to anticipate a new BYO where the restaurant makes money from having good food, not where food sales are subsidized by alcohol sales. I want a hip, quiet bistro that specializes in oh, I don’t know, Modern Jewish or smoked meats, or whatever, not a glorified bar masquerading as a restaurant. We have more than enough of those already.

  • Jimmy D

    That place looks pretty smooth. I really like the wall-size mural in the background.

    Any word about the space next to Yes! down 14th near U? The signs outside seem to suggest some sort of chef competition (though I could be wrong on that one). I caught a peek inside while walking by the other day – it looks huge inside.

  • I’d like to be able to anticipate a new BYO where the restaurant makes money from having good food, not where food sales are subsidized by alcohol sales.

    If you think tacky, loud bars are expensive now, wait until some BYO restaurants show up. You’re talking about entrees starting at $35 a plate. Anybody remember what Vegetate was like before it got its liquor license?

  • Prince Of Petworth

    Jimmy, that’s going to be Eatonville the new spot by the owner of Busboys & Poets. I put up a post on some artwork there last week.

  • JTS


    yeah, but the restaurant has to actually make the food worth it. Policyish places in DC sell you the decor/atmosphere/lifestyle/hottie, and the food is usually second rate. Philly BYOs sprout up for 18-36 months, and if good, do very well against stiff competition, then shut down and reinvent themselves. No need for massive up front liquor license costs, etc. It’s like moving to an entirely different neighborhood every three years in some areas. I want that in this city. Plus, vegetate has always been awesome.

    I am definitely excited for eatonville. More eatonville, less policy.

  • Foodie

    I had the opportunity to taste Policy’s chef’s food (Brian Murphy) when he worked with Yannick Cam at le Relais (Great Falls). The restaurant became one of our favorites b/c of the flavors of the fantastic food. We met Brian a couple of times and you can tell that he was a guy that really enjoyed delivering great food out of the kitchen.

    I agree with some of the posts here in terms of having a place where you don’t have to yell over the music to talk to the person on the other side of the table. Hopefully Policy has solved for that.

    I did check out Policy’s space (from the outside) this weekend. The first floor looks like it is all dining (with a decent sized bar) and upstairs (appears) to be where the loungy area is.

    I am looking forward to this place opening up.

  • not telling

    Bad Policy: How do you KNOW what Policy will be like?

    I don’t think everyone needs to be in agreement about new businesses coming to town, but the trash talk on this board is pretty terrible for a place that hasn’t even been seen by the public yet.

    As for the “SOOOO 5 years ago” issue, pretty much every idea since the beginning of time is recycled from somewhere. There just aren’t that many new ideas in the universe. Get over it.

  • bad policy

    @ not telling

    Look at the website. From that, would you say nightclub or restaurant? 80 percent of it is dedicated to everything besides food. Not exactly happy that music started blaring out of my work computer either.

    There are new ideas every day, all the time. It is poor vision and execution that is oft repeated.

    Believe me, this place would be awesome if I wasn’t really in the mood for more foodie places. I know that this chef is apparently good, but I am just tired of shouting and waiting forever whenever I want to have a nice meal.

  • Victoriam

    Oh god, when did red vinyl booths become iconic?

  • not telling

    bad policy: I see high partitions that divide conversations, low ceilings which will prevent sound from bouncing around, and soft sound-absorbing surfaces. I don’t know which photos you are looking at. And as someone else mentioned, the bar is upstairs. if you want to not try out this restaurant, fine. Don’t. Constantly insisting you KNOW about something that doesn’t exist or hasn’t happened yet–and that it’s AWFUL–just makes you sound like Ebeneezer Scrooge.

  • not telling

    Victoriam: since psychologists realized that the color red makes people eat more and vinyl was invented.

  • restaurant owner

    I think it is funny when people badmouth a place before it is open. How do you know what the food is going to be like? Bad Policy if you think opening a quiet modern jewish place is a homerun…then do it. If you think a restaurant is too loud for your taste…then dont go! Most places that are louder are just that for a reason. They are popular places that the neighborhood or out of towners seem to enjoy. Im sure that the owners of Policy have put much time,effort and money into what they feel is a place people will enjoy. If they are wrong they will fail. But I think they should be given the benfit of the doubt since they are the only ones that are putting their asses on the line. Last time I checked there were a lot of empty storefronts on 14th…take a chance yourself Bad Policy.

  • Taz

    I just took a look at the menu on Policy’s website (policydc.com)–the food actually sounds really good. Wild Rockfish with sherry-coriander sauce and mushrooms, Curry Lamb sliders with gorgonzola and mint pesto and the Grilled Short Ribs with miso-mustard glaze all jumped out at me.

    Kobe Hot dogs may be a stretch…but I’m interested in seeing what they look like!

  • Anonymous

    Who cares about Philadelphia?

  • bad policy

    WaPo’s chief restaurant critic posts a decibel level for all of his restaurant reviews. Clearly loudness is a problem with too many dc restaurants and I’m not the only one who feels that way.

    As for opening my own restaurant: HA! Restaurant Owner, you should know how difficult it is for outsiders to get in on that gravy train in this town.

    Like Obscenity, I know a loud restaurant when I see it. But I hear you guys and will withhold further comments until the complaints start rolling in from the neighbors.

  • Anonymous

    @ 5:07, DC would be lucky to have half as exciting a restaurant scene as Philadelphia. I bet local restauranteurs would tell you the same.

    The near-impossibility of getting a liquor licence for less than $100k (thanks in part to corruption in city gov’t) has proved a blessing in disguise. Small restaurants can exist with just a dozen tables, and focus on food and ambiance. Restaurant-goers don’t expect giant spaces and frou-frou mixed drinks. Those places are there, of course, but there’s a wonderful variety of options.

  • whatevah

    you guys are all cranky. i can’t wait to check out policy and tell you all how awesome the menu is and how loud the place isn’t!! quit getting your panties in a bunch and wait for it to open. everything else these guys have done has turned to gold and i expect no less from policy. and i think the pics look hot.

  • anonymous


    seriously! The best restaurants on the planet for half of what you pay anywhere in DC. Go up there, and return feeling angry that restauranteurs here are committing the epicurean equivalent of highway robbery. DC’s food scene, by and large, sucks. Expensive, Gimmicky, Low quality. very few exceptions to this rule. Along the Acela corridor, DC comes in second to last, at best. I would rank as follows: Philly (by FAR), NYC, Boston, Baltimore, DC, Wilmington.

    I know how POP readers get about this: you like it so much? move there! tough cookies, guys. we live in a city with really bad restaurant options. You realize that when you go elsewhere on the corridor. A weekend in Philly will change your worldview.

  • monkeypaw

    philly? your a joke @ 3:56

  • Joel Lawson

    Wow the level of cranky has truly hit eleven here. The place looks amazing, the menu sounds tempting, the chef has a good track record. I’m eager to try the place, esp. after a few weeks that any restaurant requires to get into a groove.

    If you’re too cool for school, when you haven’t even sat through a class yet, then wow for you.

  • paul oakenfold

    i want to move to philly now .. runned down housing? ghetto lovin and steak n’ chees sandwiches oh yeah baby … give it to me

  • ontarioroader

    These fools had their valet parking set up blocking the bike lane on their opening night – I hope they plan on being better neighbors than that in the future.

  • To all you HATERS

    To all you HATERS talking crap against Policy: Policy was designed and built for a certain market. It was not intended to please everybody. The decor is great, very good music, and the food is excellent. If you don’t like very loud music while you’re eating, cool, it’s understandable, just don’t go then. A lot of other people actually enjoy that scene. It’s not easy starting a business, it takes a lot of work and effort. For you people to comment here (Yes, it is your right, we’re in a great free country) and talk so much crap against Policy and the people who worked so hard to start this, you obviously have NO idea what it takes to build something like this. It’s OK if you’re ‘complacent’ with your lives, your Mon – Fri 9 – 5 job, there’s nothing wrong with that; it’s OK if you like your quiet time while you’re eating, it’s understandable; but a lot of people actually enjoy this type of environment. For anybody here who’s actually open minded enough to try something new, because this IS new, than go to Policy and form your own opinion. Base your opinion on your own actual experience, not from a bunch of Fox and CNN news breakers.

    I’m looking forward to my first visit to Policy and making my own judgment…

  • Anonymous

    Word on the street is that Policy is a disaster. No trash removal service, no basic supplies and there were fire trucks in front yesterday. “To all you HATERS” needs to understand that opening a restaurant is a serious endeavor and so far, little reflects that. It appears that the owners “have NO idea what it takes to build something like this.” The menu is a world mash-up of everything and anything with neither rhyme nor reason and is indicative of the place in its entirety. The menu claims to be “simple” and “seasonal” but the ingredients span the yearly growing cycle from winter roots, spring asparagus and salmon, summer eggplant, peppers and “local strawberries, fall brussels sprouts etc… Local strawberries are not available until summer, unless you consider buying California strawberries at the local Safeway “local”. It is an eyesore. A Bavarian style beer hall would have been better.

    And how does “alltheHaters” know that the decor, music and food are worth a damn if they are” looking forward to [their] first visit to Policy and making [their] own judgment…”?

  • Anonymous101:
    Yeah, I noticed too. Something is rotten in Denmark…..

  • Been there

    Ate at Policy the night the firetrucks were there which was only part of the problem. The waiter just didn’t care. period. the 4 of us were told that the food was small plates intended to share. they recommend 3 each plus sides. these small plates are in the 14-17$ range. 3 each puts us at almost $50. PLUS sides. On top of that the food is SO tiny. i love sliders. but the lamb sliders are the smallest in town. the are about 1×2 inch rectangle. 2 bites each. so 4 bites of lamb slider for $15. With no side. And people complained about the $15 burger at Marvin which is about 8 times the size. I have no problem paying for good food. But at these prices, I will go to CityZen.

    The next problem was the way the food came out of the kitchen. First arrived the tiny side of brussel sprouts which sat their on their own until the french fries arrived 10 minutes later. To me, sides should be on the side of something. Otherwise, they are also small plates. Our first small plate arrived 15 minutes after the first side which was about 40 minutes after we sat down. We ate our sliders, plus the short ribs (also teeny tiny) and cancelled the rest of our food. We ended up having a second meal at Ulah.

    The final thing that I have to say is that the food was actually very very tasty. Its just unfortunate that it took so long, came in such micro portions at such high prices and with such bad service.


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