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Smokehouse Fare and Classic Cocktails Are the Cornerstones of the New Jackie Lee’s

Red Derby alums are restoring the historic lounge

Posted by Jackie Lee's The Lounge Uptown on Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Red Derby alums Jason Crafton, Amanda Kelsey, and Nick Schieber are putting their collective stamp on the former home of Jackie Lee’s Uptown Lounge (116 Kennedy Street NW) this summer, restoring parts of the historic Brightwood Park property while striking out in totally different directions on the food and beverage side.

Schieber tells Eater that a previous party had already begun renovating the space; his crew plans to build on that. “The Art Deco facade of the building, we’re carrying that inside,” he says, sharing a desire to foster a “dive-chic” feel once everything is completed.

The still-evolving menu is expected to feature smokehouse fare — just don’t call it barbecue.

“That’s too contentious,” Schieber says of the conscientious effort to steer clear of regional rivalries. Instead, look for smoked wings, pimento grilled sandwiches, and smoked pork loin with cornbread and braised collard greens at dinner, while brunch-goers are offered chicken and waffles, a “plate of bacon,” and Wisconsin hash browns — a heart-stopping spread of seasoned potatoes topped with four eggs and melted cheddar.

“That’s food we like to eat that goes good with a cold beer,” Schieber says.

The bar sounds more conservative; The current plan is to mix classic cocktails (think: Manhattans, Old Fashioneds, and daiquiris) with a canned- and bottled beer list featuring local producers and “cheap” stuff.

Schieber says he would like to begin serving brunch and dinner come August.