But inventive isn’t just a PR term being applied to the drinks at Trademark; it’s the overall theme. Inspiration for the forthcoming concept from the San Francisco-based Puccini Group was taken from its Alexandria neighbor, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The restaurant’s 146-seat interior (85 of which will be located in the bar area) will be based on a modern day inventor’s lounge, with design cues from American innovators past and present. A late September opening is planned.
Located south of Old Town in the Carlyle Community complex, the kitchen will be helmed by chef Matthew Miller, while Christopher Bassett will mix the drinks. Bassett comes with some legitimate cocktail bona fides, having worked for mixologist Todd Thrasher as a manager at the PX. Miller’s road to American comfort cooking is less predictable: the English chef comes to Trademark from the Westin Alexandria, but before marriage brought him across the Atlantic in 2007, he was cooking at a small fine dining restaurant in the English town of Tavistock. Miller sees the same roots in American and English comfort foods. “Pot pie, for example, is a classic American thing,” the chef says, “But it’s also traditional British pub food.”
Early looks at the menu show pork and beans with sauteed greens and crispy onions, and a list dedicated to takes on macaroni and cheese. Fish and chips betray the chef’s English heritage, while a Virginian country ham sandwich and a potpie filled with crab and rockfish nod to the local geography.