At first glance, Declaration, the forthcoming farm-to-table restaurant in Shaw, sounds like the odd place out in PRG Hospitality's line of presidential-themed eateries, which started with Lincoln in 2011 and followed with Teddy and the Bully Bar in 2013.
But dig deeper into the details of the 1,776-square-foot restaurant — the Fact Checker may need to verify that figure when Declaration opens this fall — and you'll find that PRG's next project will actually pay homage to two U.S. presidents: Thomas Jefferson, who drafted the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and John Adams, who assisted T.J. in creating America's defining document. Like the Old Abe penny floor at Lincoln, Declaration will feature a wall of nickels, each featuring that chiseled-jaw profile of Jefferson.
Located in the warehouse-modernist 2030 8th Street at Atlantic Plumbing building, Declaration will be the first restaurant that PRG Hospitality opens without one of its founders. Melvyn J. Estrin died in July from leukemia. A successful financier and venture capitalist, Estrin not only launched PRG, but co-founded the First Women's Bank of Maryland and invested in Hollywood movies and Broadway productions. PRG co-founder Alan G. Popovsky calls Estrin his mentor.
PRG and its corporate chef, Demetrio Zavala, have not yet selected a chef de cuisine to execute the "friendly, farm-to-table cuisine" at the 50-seat Declaration. In design and in dishes, the restaurant will reference the spring and summer of 1776 when America's founding fathers drafted and signed the famous document; expect pizzas named after some of the 56 signers. The John Hancock will have to be the signature pie, right? (Start pounding out your pun-hating comments in 3. . .2. . .1. . .)
But PRG Hospitality hints that it's not done yet with presidential-themed eateries. The company's initials, after all, stand for Presidential Restaurant Group. PRG may even open Oval Office-oriented operations (say that five times fast) in other cities.
"American history is so fascinating to me that I can see at least two or three more historically themed restaurants, including Jack and Jackie and other Americana-style restaurants," Popovsky said in an e-mail. "I would certainly consider opening in the region which would include Baltimore or Philadelphia. It's really about where we believe the interest lies. D.C., Philly and Baltimore are rich with early American history and continue be target locations for a Lincoln or even a Declaration."
Declaration, 2030 Eighth St. NW, is scheduled to open in the fall.