WHO: Restaurant Concepts Founder and Founder-in-Residence Anthony Pagnotta, Executive Chef Patrick Carmello, and President Peter Mazor, who moved on to a principal position at Restaurant Concepts back in 2011.
WHAT: The new specialty restaurant it was just announced that Restaurant Concepts is taking over management of South Capitol’s small but trendy Bandolier Gallery (in the style of a bar and lounge). For the past several months, Music & Art owner Susan Smith (who is not related to the restaurant) has been managing the tenant, sharing full-time duties with her husband John.
Before settling on the bandolier design, Smith had already taken it on in the form of a gallery-like workspace where clients for Fashion Camp—an after-school art-meditation program Smith runs out of the restaurant—could hold down lunch meetings and brainstorm their projects.
The free staff meeting spot on the first floor now gets full-service kitchen service, starting this fall with a lineup of small plates from hot favorite chef Carmello, plus market options, like eggplant parmesan and lobster rolls.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: John Smith saw something in the chandeliers above the top wine rack, and decided to turn the area into a restaurant, in the same way a restaurant is a music venue. Susan Smith was enthused by the idea, and brought the design on board. The planned design still involves a theatrical flair: Signs proclaim the bar top as “Latin Style,” and an overhead ceiling projection reads “Fine Art in Queens.”
The partnership between Artist and client is no stranger, since Restaurant Concepts has been known for the designer, on-screen work of celebrities such as Robert De Niro, Kyra Sedgwick, and Julianna Margulies, in projects such as “The Sedgwick.”
This is Music & Art’s second restaurant; Susan Smith was previously the chef/owner of NYC’s City Lights and Café Berlin, which could have something to do with her increasing emphasis on the local scene.
“Why not celebrate the beauty of the area and bring in the new generation of chefs?” she says. “The whole area is really pushing things forward with sidewalk cafes, bike parks, and local farmers’ markets.”
IN OUR OPINION: As a kid, many food journals were full of images of cat and dog food and accessories for the outdoorsy squirrel hunting type. South Capitol’s Bandolier Gallery fits right in that sort of picture. Amid cacti and mission-style chairs, expect some of the best conversations to be based around who did what and where and how you could cook it, in what version.
Worth noting is the aforementioned mission-style dining chairs, or maybe couch back chairs, as the space has plenty of living-room feel with an open kitchen and a small bar area where you can order cocktails, wine, and hot drinks.
Get to know what Music & Art is all about on its website. And, in the words of original Commission art director Tony Chambers, “Continue to follow … the captain of the ship.”
100 South Congress Street; 202-342-3266; Food-and-Art.com
Join the conversation!