The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

What’s happening with Maketto?

In last Friday's Weekend section, we took a look at seven people (and one tiny powerhouse of a panda) who will make big moves in Washington in the coming year.

Among them was Will Sharp, an unassuming Kensington native who runs fashion line Durkl. The part-time Washingtonian, who moved his label to Los Angeles a couple of years ago, is a partner in Maketto, the much-buzzed-about, still-under-serious-construction restaurant/shop/cafe coming to 1351 H St. NE, next to the Rock & Roll Hotel.

Maketto will combine the cooking talents of Toki Underground's Erik Bruner-Yang with Sharp's sartorial eye and Chris Vigilante's Vigilante Coffee Company. And while we have a sense of the Asian fare Bruner-Yang will offer, thanks to Maketto's preview residency at Hanoi House, little has been revealed about how three businesses will operate under one roof.

Sharp talked to us last week about the progress on the space, which, to be frank, still doesn't look like much. (It was originally slated to open in February 2012, then October.) Two years later, we have a better idea of what's in store when the retail-meets-restaurant space does open, perhaps as soon as this spring. Here are some answers to our collective frequently asked questions:

What will Maketto look like?
"The whole space is dedicated to being this kind of communal marketplace," Sharp says of the 3,100-square-foot building, which includes a spacious back patio and planned roof deck. "There's a little section for retail, a little section for a food counter, and a little section for a coffee counter. The rest of it is a huge, wide-open space of ... question mark." Sharp says glass will allow visitors to peer from the shop into the food market, while an outdoor catwalk is in the works to physically connect the spaces.

What kind of clothes will Maketto carry?
Sharp says Maketto will focus on menswear, with Durkl and a handful of additional lines he admires on the shelves. Sneakerheads, get ready: Sharp and co. are building mighty display cases for footwear.

Will the shop close when the bar gets going? The proprietors are kicking around the idea of putting goods behind glass, art-museum style, effectively turning footwear and a perfectly cut shirt into decor for the late-night set to admire over a cocktail or two. Perhaps they'll be moved to return to scoop up something they saw the night before, or, says Sharp, if there's enough interest, Maketto will weigh staffing the retail area into the wee hours.

Won't the clothes smell if they're in a restaurant?
Maketto's retail area is situated at the front of the building, extending back into a cleanly designed bar space. To get to Bruner-Yang's restaurant/kitchen, however, you'll have to cross the patio to a second building in the back (which will have a rooftop). Vigilante's roasting operation and cafe occupies the second floor of Maketto, above the retail area.  Sharp says the owners hope for a casual environment where diners can pick what they want, then carry it with them to any of a number of open dining spaces, including  the patio, rooftop or cafe.