Mari Vanna has been trying to make "grandma chic" a thing since opening in Dupont Circle a few weeks ago, combining homey Russian cooking and lacy decor with a third floor DJ and an Ovechkin-friendly crowd. Here's one more way Mari Vanna owner Tatiana Brunetti says coming there is like going to grandma's house — if you're family, you get a key.
The DC location carries on a practice that all the previous Mari Vanna outposts have done, she explains. The restaurant gives out a select number of keys to VIPs, friends of employees, some members of the media and regular customers. "Some of it is word of mouth," she said — other times, a staffer notices someone spends a lot of time at the restaurant and approaches them directly.
The keys mean you get special access to the restaurant on Monday, when the door is locked and there's a special party upstairs (technically, regular customers can also get in on Monday if they have luck ringing the restaurant's many doorbells and getting an answer; she told The City Paper, only two of them work). The keys work at the various other Mari Vanna locations, too.
A Mari Vanna Key [Photo: Missy Frederick/Eater.com]