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By Tom Sietsema
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 3, 2008

"Any news on the upcoming beer bar/restaurant in the old Dakota Cowgirl space?" a chatter asked in a recent online food discussion. "Plastic is up in the windows, which is a sign something is happening inside, but I cant get a peek," added the self-described "Dupont beer geek."

Back in February, I reported that the Northern Virginia-based Neighborhood Restaurant Group had taken over the location at 1337 14th St. NW. The groups plans called for Frank Morales, the chef at Rustico in Alexandria, to create two menus for two floors and for Greg Engert, Rusticos beer director, to serve 500 labels, 100 styles and 50 draft beers. At the time, the groups co-owner, Michael Babin, anticipated an April launch for the Logan Circle venue. Construction and permitting delays have pushed that target to October, Babin says, "but were making progress." Announced without a name, the forthcoming restaurant and bar now has two: Birch & Barley downstairs and ChurchKey upstairs (catch the reference to a bottle opener?). Babin says the space will also be bigger than anticipated, thanks to the recent addition of a rooftop deck to its blueprints.

Got a dining question? Send your thoughts, wishes and, yes, even gripes to or to Ask Tom, The Washington Post Magazine, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. Please include a daytime telephone number.

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