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All We Can Eat
Posted at 02:30 PM ET, 12/20/2011

Great Wall: A first look at the renovated space

Mae Kuang and Yuan Chen are all smiles after the renovations at Great Wall Szechuan House. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)
The happy couple pictured above is May Kuang, left, and Yuan Chen, the general manager and chef, respectively, at Great Wall Szechuan House. They officially became the owners of a full-service, sit-down restaurant when they reopened Great Wall on Monday after three weeks of renovations.

You might not recognize the former hole in the wall on 14th Street NW.

Gone are the dingy black-and-white floor tiles and the vanilla drywall. Construction crews ripped out the drywall to reveal an elegant expanse of old red bricks, which have been cleaned and sanded for the grand reopening; crews also laid down new tiles that look sort of like stone. The mammoth beverage cooler has disappeared, too, replaced with a less conspicuous bottle cooler tucked behind the new bar.

All told, the owners dropped about $50,000 to keep up with the wholesale gentrification taking place in the Logan Circle neighborhood. Take a look after the jump at what $50K buys you today:

Crews had finished cleaning up the space not long before this photo was taken on Monday. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

May Kuang says more wall decorations are in store for Great Wall. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

The new bar at Great Wall will function as both take-out “window” and a counter for lunch and dinner service. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

Crews were installing a flat screen TV at the other end of this brick wall on Monday. The owners are still not sure what channels they will show. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

Chef Chen plans to roll out an expanded menu soon after the New Year; it will include this delicious porcine take on kung pao chicken — a sweet, spicy, numbing, peanutless version that will be dubbed "ma la pork chops." (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

The owners don't plan to update their awning and facade. They say it's too expensive. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

By  |  02:30 PM ET, 12/20/2011

Categories:  Chefs | Tags:  Tim Carman

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