The splash of red in this photo is the front entrance, which features a pithy quote the restaurant attributes to Benjamin Franklin: "In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria."
First Look: Penn Commons in Penn Quarter Set to Open Monday for Lunch and DinnerBy Rina Rapuano
July 31, 2014 By Rina Rapuano | July 31, 2014
Three years after Passion Food Hospitality closed its groundbreaking TenPenh at 10th and Pennsylvania, the restaurant group returns to Penn Quarter Monday with the opening of Penn Commons, an offshoot of District Commons in Foggy Bottom. The industrial-chic restaurant has 10 TVs in the bar area and a photo mural of presidents playing sports along the back wall, but it's not intended to come across as a traditional sports bar. Think sporty with a sophisticated twist — after all, most sports bars don't have Prosecco and Pinot Gris on tap or 13 cocktails to represent the original American colonies. (Not to mention the 40 beers on draft.)
The dining room, with retro touches like hickory planks and metal-caged light bulbs, seats 166, with 62 of those seats in the bar and lounge area. There's also a private dining room that accommodates 16 and has its own TV. Cement floors, walnut tabletops and leather banquettes also characterize the room, which features mostly neutral tones except for occasional bursts of red.
The restaurant will serve lunch weekdays from 11:30 AM-2:30 PM and dinner from 5-10 PM Monday through Wednesday and 5-11 PM Thursday through Saturday. The restaurant will be closed on Sundays for now but will eventually open that day, as well. Saturday and Sunday brunch will also be added down the line.
Scroll through the slideshow below to get more of an idea of what to expect when the restaurant opens next week.
700 Sixth St. NW; 202-905-2999
To the left of the bar, much of the seating is communal, including these long tables and a large, round table in the back. The area to the right of the bar is populated with booths and four-tops.
There are two loungy nooks where diners can have a drink before dinner or wait for a table. The look fuses Americana with with a comfortable library feel.
Photo by: Scott Suchman
Executive Chef Jeff Tunks is the the man behind the menu, but chef Alfredo Solis — who has worked with Tunks for years and was the chef at District Commons — is managing the kitchen day to day.
Fried oysters with blue-cheese slaw and spicy remoulade is one of the many dishes served at Penn Commons that migrated over from District Commons.
Pulled-pork hand pies with Carolina sauce are among the 10 or so dishes that are exclusive to Penn Commons. Other dishes not found at District Commons include fried calamari with smoked-tomato tzatziki and a few burgers, including a Twelve-Buck Chuck, a nod to the popular Six Buck Chuck burger served at the restaurant group's Burger Tap & Shake.
Like District Commons, it's Chinatown sibling will ring the dinner bell nightly at 10 PM (9 PM Sundays), when diners in the bar and lounge areas can order what's being served for the staff meal. While there will be some overlap with the menu at District Commons for most of the week, the Thursday menu can be found at Penn Commons only: a platter of grilled sausages, sauerkraut, pretzel baguettes and potato salad.