ANC 4C07 Commissioner John-Paul Hayworth held a public meeting this evening with the three owners of the new southeast Asian restaurant coming to 845 Upshur Street, Marc Dosik, Alex McCoy and Hunter Thompson. The meeting was an opportunity to get resident input on a Community Agreement between the three owners and ANC 4C.
I've spoken with local Marc Dosik previously (he owns Help-U-Sell at 843 Upshur St), but this was my first chance to meet chef Alex McCoy and co-owner Hunter Thompson in person. The three are old friends, very laid back and very interested in being involved in the Petworth community.
"We want to be a neighborhood place to go," Alex said, in talking about their vision for the restaurant. "We don't want to be a destination restaurant for people to come to from all around the city. We see ourselves as a neighborhood bar and place to hang out. We don't think we could do this like we want in another part of town, like Dupont."
We discussed necessary things like garbage pick-up (the ANC asks for at least 3 days a week, they said they might do more than that), possible noise issues, liquor licensing and needing permits for the construction. The building is currently set up as a take-out restaurant with no room for seating, so the first phase of the renovation is going to be tearing out what's there and making way for a sit-down restaurant with seating for about 35 (with 10 more seats going out front). Future phases will include renovating the back area behind the restaurant into outdoor seating and bar. We also spoke about putting in additional lighting in the alley, and they agreed that was something they had already considered. "Wouldn't it be cool to put in string lights or something that goes across the alley to Petworth Citizen?" Alex said. "Help make it a walking alley."
The inside seating area of the restaurant might take reservations, as Alex doesn't want people waiting or stressed about getting a table. The plan for the outside back is to have a first-come, first-serve approach where people can walk in and grab a beer with friends. (More on the plans can be found in my interview with Chef McCoy.)
We talked about the types of food they're planning on serving (which made me really hungry) and I brought up the need for a making food available that's appropriate for young palates. There are plenty of parents who want places to go early with their young kids, and still enjoy interesting food (for them and their kids). All three owners agreed that this was a great idea and something they'd pursue.
We also talked about getting them involved in the community, for events like Celebrate Petworth (which Marc Dosik already supports), as well as the Petworth Dance Project, Jazz Project, Friends of the Library, etc. I said it wasn't money the community wanted as much as for them to be part of the community. "We believe in sweat equity," Hunter Campbell said. "We definitely want to be involved."
An opening date is still TBD, as there are plenty of permits to get, as well as the liquor license and so on. If you'd like another opportunity to meet the owners, their Community Agreement should come up before ANC 4C for a vote at its next meeting on September 9th.