“Radiator is first and foremost a hangout spot for the neighborhood where you can grab fun, funky bar snacks or more composed large-format plates alongside your perfectly made cocktail.”

by Prince Of Petworth April 7, 2016 at 11:30 am 17 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Joe Flood

From a press release:

“Radiator (www.radiatordc.com), a cocktail bar and neighborhood gathering place featuring contemporary American small plates with global influences, will open on April 19 off the 14th Street corridor at 1430 Rhode Island Ave. NW. Radiator nods to the spirit of its surroundings in both its name – a reference to 14th Street’s rich automotive past – and lively, engaging experience. The bar is located adjacent to the new Mason & Rook Hotel.

“We’re embracing the shift toward unpretentious dining, while remaining mindful of quality and craft in both food and drink,” says Lead Bartender Sarah Rosner, who helms the beverage program. “Radiator is first and foremost a hangout spot for the neighborhood where you can grab fun, funky bar snacks or more composed large-format plates alongside your perfectly made cocktail.”

In Your Glass

Keeping a firm grasp on the classics as a foundation, Radiator’s bar program leaves plenty of room to play and experiment. Lead Bartender Sarah Rosner, who comes to Radiator with 15 years of experience at such acclaimed establishments as Copycat Co., Derek Brown’s Eat the Rich and Jack Rose Dining Saloon, has designed a beverage selection that puts an original slant on time-honored cocktails, while highlighting a carefully curated range of whiskeys and off-the-beaten path spirits, as well as a discerning selection of local beers and wines. Her cheeky house creations include the Singani-based Bolivian Sage (muddled strawberry, fresh sage, lemon juice, house-made orgeat and pineapple juice), the Rickey Goes to Hawaii (gin, li hing powder, lime and soda), and the show-stopping Folk Art (muddled lime, mint leaves, Cynar, aged rum, green chartreuse and pineapple juice), all accessibly priced in keeping with the laid-back neighborhood setting.

On Your Plate

Food is central to the Radiator experience, and Executive Chef Jonathan Dearden, formerly of Ardeo + Bardeo, complements the liquid offerings with a menu of soulful, sophisticated dishes. Spanning snacks, sharable plates and large-format items, Radiator’s culinary program presents a global perspective reflecting Dearden’s deep knowledge of Caribbean, Creole, French and Pan-Asian cuisine. Highlights on the ambitious menu include Kimchi Pickles with Cucumber, Mango and Jicama; Bacon Fat Fries with Smoked Sea Salt; Harissa-Roasted Romanesco with Black Bean Hummus and Cilantro Tabouleh; and Lamb Belly Tacos with Curried Chickpeas, Tzatziki, Feta and Mint, an inventive riff on shawarma.

The Design

Set in a neighborhood once home to many mid-20th century car dealerships and auto repair shops, Radiator brings a historical point of view to its design with a strong use of industrial elements. The large, 57-seat bar area includes a communal table and is accented with rich woods and leather. A 23-seat lounge and private dining room includes several nooks where small groups can gather. The space is outfitted with playful diversions and games, such as backgammon chess, Jenga, and life-sized Connect Four. During warmer months, guests can enjoy a 50-seat patio featuring a large fire pit and a shuffleboard court under a retractable mesh overhang. Conceived by D.C.’s award-winning GrizForm Design Architects, the space keeps an eye toward craftsmanship, ranging from large checkerboard floors to vintage car parts to displays of rare whiskeys.

About Chef Jonathan Dearden

Jonathan Dearden is executive chef at Radiator, where he brings a global perspective to the culinary bar menu. His background in Caribbean, Creole, French, and Pan-Asian cuisines helps keep Radiator’s ambitious menu on pace with its constantly updated list of seasonal and classic cocktails.He comes to Radiator from Ardeo + Bardeo in Washington, D.C., where he oversaw the kitchen as executive chef. Prior to this he served as executive chef at Andre Balazs properties in New York, executive chef at Jade Mountain Resort in Saint Lucia and chef de cuisine for James Beard Award winning Chef Allen Susser’s in Miami.With Dearden running the kitchen, Jade Mountain was recognized by Travel and Leisure as the top resort in the Caribbean, and number three best resort in the world. During his mentorship with Susser, he attended The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Management. Dearden grew up in Sterling, Va., where both he and his twin brother first started their culinary journeys while working weekends at local family-owned restaurants.

About Sarah Rosner

Sarah Rosner is lead bartender at Radiator, where she oversees the culinary cocktail bar’s ambitious program of seasonal and classic cocktails. Rosner comes to Radiator from Copycat Co. in Washington, D.C., where she honed her skills and expanded her classics knowledge. Before that, Rosner worked with cocktail luminary Derek Brown at Eat the Rich, his rock and roll Mid-Atlantic oyster bar. Rosner stepped into the craft cocktail world at Jack Rose Dining Saloon, where she gained deep knowledge of cocktail history and the art of working with culinary ingredients. Previous stops include D.C. neighborhood favorites Breadsoda, Marvin, and Townhouse Tavern. Originally from Hawaii, Rosner’s background informs all of her cocktail creations, from a love of tropical ingredients to rigorous standards when it comes to freshness. Rosner is an enthusiastic gardener and sources many of her ingredients from her own backyard.”

  • FridayGirl

    And once again… why is this press release so long? :( Although the snacks sound kind of good (and that’s where I stopped reading).

  • MtP

    The Helix was one of the strangest, but best value hotels in the city. It will be interesting to see how this turns out. Also, that press release has way too many paradoxes.

    • Helix was awesome. Hopefully Kimpton keeps its cool. I don’t want to change allegiances for work travel!

  • ExWalbridgeGuy

    A hangout spot for the neighborhood? Does that mean I can just play backgammon and order no food/drinks?

  • K

    What are “large-format plates”? Is this just a meal? Are small-plates restaurants so ubiquitous that a normal restaurant needs qualifiers?

    • K also

      Ha, I was just about to ask the exact same question. What is a large format plate and how are they a “shift toward unpretentious dining”

      • timmyp

        ding ding ding ding!!!!! How can they actually make that statement when they clearly mention both small plates and whatever -the F**** large format plates are as well as gems like “Her cheeky house creations include the Singani-based Bolivian Sage”. Never mind the word bar program! That alone makes my blood boil.

        This is like when a company such as Applebee’s calls itself a neighborhood bar or Wendy’s claims it has artisan made buns.

        Get over yourself’s!!!

    • Hill Denizen

      Yeah, is this normal sized food portions? Cheesecake factory sized? Or family style?

    • textdoc

      “Are small-plates restaurants so ubiquitous that a normal restaurant needs qualifiers?” I had the same thought. I fear the answer is yes. :(

  • C.

    “We’re embracing the shift toward unpretentious dining, while remaining mindful of quality and craft in both food and drink”. This has become THE cookie cutter press release for Spring/Summer ’16.

  • LittleBluePenguin

    I would love, just once, to read a press release that wasn’t so chock-full of absolute inanity. Every single thing about this screams “pretentiousness” Can’t someone just write a straightforward “Hey Guys! We’re opening a new bar in (insert place). We have some run drinks and great food. Come check us out when you can, we’d love to have you!” Honest to goodness, I would patronize the sh!t out of a place that had the balls to send that kind of press release!

    • LittleBluePenguin

      *fun drinks, not run drinks. Though that could be good, too.

  • textdoc

    Sheesh — seven paragraphs?? TLDR.

  • districtwanderer

    Utterly dull. It reminds me of a terrible cover letter.

  • Hill Denizen

    These names seem straight out of a Portlandia sketch.

  • Glen

    This press release sounds so unpretentious. /s

    Looking forward to trying it though!

  • benters

    $17 for a burger that’s described as involving “red onion marmalade / cambozola / truffle fries” and they are claiming to be unpretentious.


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