Eater toured Supra, the spacious 4,600-square-foot restaurant which is expected to provide D.C. diners with a full-fledged taste of Eurasian nation Georgia this fall, with its detail-obsessed owners on Tuesday, September 5. When it debuts in Shaw (1205 11th Street NW) next month, visitors should expect to be transported across the world upon entry, thanks to sculptures, artifacts, and a collage depicting Georgian horse men from 100 years ago.
“They were like rock stars, touring the U.S. and Europe doing trick riding shows,” says founder and co-owner Jonathan Nelms. The custom piece, done by an artist friend based in Moscow, will be constructed of tiny pieces of cut-out Georgian newspapers, books, and magazines.
Nearby is a floor-to-ceiling glass wall that’s filled with a couple hundred wines from Georgia, which is thought to be one of the first wine producers in the world. The region is big on sparkling and earthy amber wines, which are similar to port, Nelms says.
In addition to the wine appreciation, artwork embracing Georgian culture figures prominently. A wall featuring copper accents displays the Georgian alphabet, even though Nelms claims few people speak the actual language. “Their language is [like] the secret handshake of Georgian people,” he says. “No one really knows it as a second language.”
Supra means “feast” and also translates to “tablecloth,” so traditional supras and replicas of their intricate designs will appear throughout.
Banksy-like, Georgia street artist Gagosh has been tapped to produce a mural at the bar (motif: TBA). Supra co-founders Laura and Jonathan Nelms met and hired the artist during a research trip to the country.
Brick walls will add texture to the space throughout, while polished concrete floors accent a dining area projected to sport a warm glow thanks to old fashioned wrought iron lighting hovering above. Meanwhile, bar patrons will be standing on three shades of reclaimed wood.
Malkhaz Maisashvili, the former chef of the Embassy of Georgia in Washington, is working on the opening menu. Stay tuned for updates on what he’s got in mind (think: vegetable plates, meats, breads, and cheeses influenced by Mediterranean, Greek, and Middle Eastern cuisine).
While their working relationship is a new one, the owners and chef go way back: A few years ago, they went to Georgia for their anniversary and dined at his restaurant.