Dumplings, bao buns and pot stickers downstairs. Carefully-made cocktails upstairs. CopyCat co. is aiming to be a late night diner's (and drinker's dream) on H Street.
The project from Barmini veteran Devin Gong is opening to the public this Saturday at 1110 H St. NE. Gong's menu takes its inspiration from Northern Chinese street fare. "It's food that I want to eat," he said. Meanwhile, he'll get to show off the techniques he learned at Barmini upstairs. Both operations will be open until 2 a.m. on weeknights and 3 a.m. on weekends.
Gong designed the graphics and logo for the place himself, and collaborated with CORE's Allison Cooke on the restaurant's design. The space has an open kitchen, with 23 seats upstairs and 12 seats downstairs. Gong imagines people will visit both concepts in one night (he doesn't necessarily see cocktails and street foods as items to be paired together at the same time).
The building was supposed to be a restaurant run by another owner, so much of the infrastructure was already in place when the project started, Cooke explained. She researched design in Northern Chinese cities across different eras in time. Downstairs is designed to look stripped down and industrial, with reds, warm wood colors and stainless steel accents.
Upstairs has more of a moody feel (Cooke was inspired by a picture she saw of an embroidered Chinese dress; Gong mentions opium dens as an inspiration), with splashes of jade and sapphire. The space is just 1200 square feet in total. Focal points include light fixtures inspired by bird cages and Chinese lanterns, wooden racks displaying cooking equipment, a big window overseeing H Street, and screens and chandeliers.