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Scuttlebutt True! New Restaurants from Chef Mike Isabella Coming to 1326 W St, NW

14th and W St, NW

Back in Nov. 2011 I shared some very sweet scutttlebutt saying that Graffiato Chef Mike Isabella would be bringing a new Greek restaurant to the new project going up at 14th and W St, NW. Turns out the scuttlebutt was accurate – and more.

From a press release:

Top Chef All-Stars Runner-Up, Mike Isabella announces plans to open two new restaurants at a 7,000 square foot space at 1326 W St. NW in early 2013. Kapnos, Greek for smoke, is the Greek restaurant Chef Isabella has been conceptualizing for years. Next door he will open G, a sister restaurant to Graffiato serving sandwiches by day and a four-course tasting menu in the evening.

“I’ve been cooking Greek food for a large part of my career, so opening my own place was only a matter of time. With Kapnos, I want to bring something totally unique to DC; daily whole animal spit-roasting is a side of Greek cuisine that no one else is doing in this city,” said Chef/Owner, Mike Isabella. “G is a sister to Graffiato, but the menu will be more traditional Italian – a place to get a meatball hero for lunch and a four-course dinner.”

Chef Isabella will draw inspiration from Northern Greece to create a menu of spreads, breads, phyllo pies, vegetables and other small plates, including his signature wood-grilled octopus. Dinner will culminate with the choice of carvings from whole animals that have been spit-roasted all day, including lamb, goat, duck, chicken, and suckling pig.

Two wood-fire grills with five rotating spits each and a small wood oven for flat breads will service the 150-seat restaurant. A marble chef’s table situated in front of the spits will offer up to 10 guests an the opportunity to pre-order a whole spit-roasted animal for their party. Kapnos will be open for dinner seven nights a week and weekend brunch. The wine list will offer an extensive selection from Greece and other European countries.

Chef Isabella has named George Pagonis chef de cuisine and his brother, Nicholas Pagonis general manager. Nicholas is currently a manager at Graffiato and George formerly worked under Chef Isabella as a sous chef at Zaytinya. The brothers are first generation Greek American. Taha Ismail, who currently oversees the cocktail program at Graffiato, will also serve as head mixologist for Kapnos.

Chef Isabella will tap Graffiato sous chef, Elliot Drew to serve as executive sous chef at G. The 45-seat space next to Kapnos will offer traditional Italian sandwiches, soups and salads for lunch seven days a week. Chicken parmesan, veal cutlet, sausage with peppers, and meatballs are some of the sandwich fillers Chef Isabella plans to serve by day.

By night, G will offer a four-course tasting menu for $40. Dinner will include a pre-set menu of antipasti, pasta, choice of meat or fish and dessert. The kitchen will accommodate dietary needs, but no a la carte menu will be available.

In addition to building the Kapnos and G teams from current and previous colleagues, Chef Isabella has brought on Steve Uhr as director of operations. Beginning April 1, Uhr will oversee all current and future restaurant projects for Chef Isabella.

“We have worked together at Think Food Group in Washington, D.C. and at Starr Restaurant Organization in Philadelphia. Steve is a talented manager; he has opened some of the best restaurants in the country and I wanted him back on my team to help grow my restaurants,” said Chef Isabella.

Previously, Uhr was the general manager for Atlantic Grill in Atlantic City. Prior to that appointment, he held general manager positions at several Washington, D.C. restaurants, including J&G Steakhouse, Blue Duck Tavern and Zaytinya. Uhr has also worked with renowned chefs Wolfgang Puck, José Andrés, Masaharu Morimoto, and Marcus Samuelsson.

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