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Posted at 12:49 PM ET, 11/14/2012

Art & Soul to close for renovations following the inauguration

(Courtesy Art & Soul)
“Not my taste,” says chef Art Smith of his dining room in The Liaison Capitol Hill that was designed before he signed on four years ago.

So young as it is, Art and Soul is closing immediately following the Presidential Inauguration for a makeover that will transform the modern interior into something better suited to the restaurant’s farm-to-table southern menu.

When the place reopens in mid-February, its carpet will have been replaced by herringbone wood floors, the outdoors will be suggested in garden colors and hand-painted farm signs and a sculpture of different types of beans will draw eyes to  one wall.

The change won’t affect the kitchen, which will continue to be manned by executive chef Wes Morton.

Smith plans to throw a “chef’s ball” at Art and Soul the night before the inauguration, with a start time of 11 p.m. to accommodate guests’ work schedules. Invitations will be sent out to local and visiting chefs, says the Chicago-based chef, but their followers will be able to purchase tickets to the party, too. On the menu: Fried chicken and waffles and “lots of Champagne,” says Smith.

A renovation isn’t the only thing on his mind. Smith says he’s scouting locations for a second, more casual restaurant in Washington. Adams Morgan and Georgetown are strong contenders for what sounds like a delicious concept: a ham and bourbon bar.

Originally reported in the Ask Tom weekly chat.

By  |  12:49 PM ET, 11/14/2012

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