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How Jason Berry of Knead Hospitality would spend a perfect day in D.C.

In D.C. Dream Day, we ask our favorite people in the area to tell us how they would spend a perfect day in the District.

Is life especially drab right now? Jason Berry wants to offer you an escape.

“I think sitting in a restaurant that has a theme to it, a point of view and music and lighting and ambiance and delicious food and great service and amazing cocktails, is one of the only quick ways of taking a vacation without actually leaving town,” says the co-founder of hospitality conglomerate Knead Hospitality + Design, which operates D.C.-area restaurants such as Succotash, Mi Vida and Gatsby.

Berry and his husband, Michael Reginbogin, started Knead in 2015 and in seven years expanded its operations into 10 concepts and 14 restaurant locations. The pandemic slowed business for a while but didn’t stall growth, as the duo barrels through the next few months with several new openings, including a Swingers “crazy golf” spot in Navy Yard early next year.

On his D.C. dream day, Berry would take a break from managing his restaurant empire to explore more local cuisines around town.

I would start my day with a great cup of coffee. I’m a huge fan of La Colombe Coffee Roasters. When I went to business school in Philadelphia, La Colombe was a fledging business, and that’s where they started. I didn’t have a lot of money, so one of my treats was going to La Colombe and having coffee as often as I could to set up my day.

I love a good buffet. It’s so easy to screw up a buffet, and one of the only places that I’ve been able to find a good breakfast buffet in D.C. has been at the Four Seasons Hotel. I’ve been there on a few occasions for brunch on the weekend. I like how elegant and beautiful the displays are, and it’s not too gluttonous. It’s almost like they curated a variety of fun things to eat without making you feel like you’re in Las Vegas. If I’m feeling a little more healthy, I’m a big fan of Fruitive in D.C. While expensive, it’s all vegan and delicious and interesting. You’ve felt like you’ve had a very healthy meal even though it feels indulgent. There’s one in CityCenter.

I’d go for a walk with my daughter to the park. There’s this park in McLean near where we live called Clemyjontri Park. It’s this crazy park that is packed with people every day — nannies and parents and kids of all ages. The only thing baby London can do is the swings; she can’t walk yet. When we took her to the beach in Mexico, she was trying to eat the sand, so that’s not great. We have to kind of keep her under control, under a watchful eye. She’s so excited when she’s on the swings, and she just laughs hysterically. That is just amazing. We go there almost every day, and she loves it and never gets tired of it.

I’m a big fan of exercise. I’m a member of Orangetheory, and it totally kicks my a--. You burn like 700 calories in less than an hour. I’ve lost weight, and I feel good; it’s kind of hard on my body, but I really enjoy it.

I really love to walk the city. I would probably visit a few museums, including the National Portrait Gallery, or the National Air and Space Museum or even the International Spy Museum. If I was with my kids, I think that would be a lot of fun. And walking the National Mall and seeing the monuments and feeling the virtue of space in the city is great.

There’s a restaurant I really love called Thip Khao, which makes Laotian food, and it’s delicious. It’s so interesting, and it’s so spicy. There’s nothing on the menu that I probably wouldn’t eat. It’s a little under the radar, but it gets great press and they do an amazing job. Nice, spicy, vibrant, bold flavors. Love it.

Then I would probably do something like the “Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience.” [It’s an opportunity] to see how interactive and visual interpretations of Van Gogh’s work can be. The United States Botanic Garden is beautiful — one of the nicest botanical gardens I’ve been to. I do also love to play poker, and MGM National Harbor isn’t too far away. So a couple of hours there in the poker room, [it’s] a great intellectual but also relaxing way to spend [the day] and maybe make a few bucks — and maybe lose a few bucks. But in this version of my day, I don’t lose money.

There’s a winery out in Delaplane called RdV, and it’s probably one of the best wineries and makes some of the best wine in Virginia. I used to have a house in Delaplane that was not far from RdV. But spending a few hours there was a wonderful day of learning about winemaking, tasting and sitting in the rolling hills of Virginia while you sip wine and enjoy the breeze, which is just lovely depending on the time of the year you’re out there.

I don’t spend my money very often on ultrafine dining or four-hour tastings; I just don’t have the time or the energy to sit still for that long. Just too much to do, so I often find myself in delicious places that maybe are a little more upscale but not expensive. Maydan is a favorite of mine, which is just off 14th Street NW and does Middle Eastern cuisine with a live cooking fire pit in the middle of the dining room. And they do a lovely job of representing great flavors.

And then late at night, maybe grabbing a drink at Silver Lyan at the Riggs hotel. They do a phenomenal job of creating craft cocktails in a really cool environment.

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