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The Royal: “A coffee shop and lunch spot by day, and an intimate bar and casual eatery by night”

by Prince Of Petworth April 22, 2015 at 11:15 am 28 Comments

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From a press release:

“As Washington, DC grows and expands, residents are more and more looking for their “own” neighborhood spots, and they’ll soon have one. Expected to open in late spring 2015, The Royal will be a classic corner neighborhood joint located in the heart of DC’s historic LeDroit Park neighborhood at 501 Florida Avenue, NW. A coffee shop and lunch spot by day, and an intimate bar and casual eatery by night, The Royal will be a unique all-day destination for morning coffee, leisurely lunch, after-work cocktails and simple yet creative fare.

The intimate and versatile split-level corner spot aims to be a central “hub” for the neighborhood, connecting residents and visitors within a welcoming, accessible gathering space. In the morning, The Royal will boast a full espresso program, brewing up Counter Culture coffee for those on-the-go or looking to spend a leisurely morning, along with breakfast offerings and fresh juices.

Come afternoon, The Royal will offer one all-day menu, described by owner Paul Carlson and Chef Lonnie Zoeller as “our families’ comfort food presented as elevated bar snacks to complement the uniquely crafted cocktail program.” Inspired by both Carlson and Zoeller’s familial ties to Colombia, fresh meats, seafood and vegetables will be prepared on the wood-fire grill and accompanied by an assortment of house sauces.

The Royal’s beverage program will focus on craft cocktails, helmed by beverage director Horus Alvarez. The underlying theme behind the cocktails is simplicity – fresh ingredients, fruits, herbs – used in an array of both classic and signature cocktails. The bar will boast an extensive vermouth selection, featuring a housemade vermouth on draft. Carlson sourced a vintage ice shaver from Guatemala, which will churn the base for creative shaved ice cocktails, available year-round.

The Royal will also offer a small yet well-curated wine list of approximately 8-10 wines by glass, plus some unique reserve bottles and draft and bottled beers. The goal is to offer drinks that are simple, approachable, and affordable.

This is the second project from Carlson, who opened Vinoteca just six blocks away at the corner of 11th & U Street NW in the bustling U Street Corridor in 2007. For his second venture as a restaurateur, he decided to join forces with his parents and sister, all who live nearby. Carlson believes The Royal will be an integral part of the neighborhood and something he’d like to see more of in DC.

“The restaurant scene is developing nicely in DC, but it’s missing that personal character that helps define a community,” says Carlson. “In NYC, from neighborhood to neighborhood, they have very small, personalized restaurants that satisfy the communities that they’re a part of. We want to be that for LeDroit Park. This neighborhood is full of young professionals, families and longtime residents; a very tightknit group. Having a true, approachable corner neighborhood joint will allow us to bring people together and be a central hub for the community.”

The Royal’s name was inspired by the building’s previous life, Royal Liquor Store in the 1990s. The intimate split-level space will open to a dimly-lit, welcoming bar area with high ceilings and communal dining table. A focal point of the bar will be the restaurant’s custom-made four-foot wood-burning grill, churning out fresh meats and vegetables. An open staircase leads to a second-floor, loft-style dining room with rustic exposed brick walls, original fireplace and seating for 12.

ABOUT THE ROYAL

The Royal is a classic corner neighborhood spot located in Washington, DC’s historic LeDroit Park neighborhood at 501 Florida Avenue, NW. A coffee shop and lunch spot by day, and an intimate bar and casual eatery by night, The Royal will be a unique all-day destination for morning coffee, leisurely lunch, after-work cocktails and simple yet creative fare. The second project from restaurateur Paul Carlson, the split-level, 45-seat gathering place is expected to open in late spring 2015.”

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