Scotts Restaurant & Bar just brought the bustling Penn Quarter neighborhood a quaint and colorful getaway for across-the-pond comfort foods and craft cocktails. The two-part venue contains a restaurant and a members-only drinking club.
Owner Simon Lowe convinced chef Will Artley, who has cooked at the White House, the now-shuttered Nonna’s Kitchen, and Grist Mill Restaurant, to move back to D.C. this summer for the job after a short stint in Florida. One dish that sealed the deal for Lowe and general manager Jesse Hiney (Osteria Morini) was Artley’s “BLT” gnocchi, with spinach potato dumplings, roasted tomato, bacon, and truffle cream. Beverage director Jimmy Ponce, also formerly at Osteria Morini, is big on sour and scotch-based cocktails.
The menu is billed as a “fusion” of English and American classics (i.e. there’s a burger). Lowe imported a refurbished 1920s-era silver trolley from England, which will roll around prepared cuts of prime rib, lamb, or venison depending on the day.
Brunch is scheduled to join the mix starting this weekend, with accompanying live jazz in the dining area slated for the future. One riff on an American order is a Scotch eggs Benedict with hollandaise and roast potatoes. The menu also has seafood (raw oysters, shrimp cocktail, sushi), turkey burgers, crab cakes, New York strip steaks, and daily specials.
“We aren’t trying to present something too wild here — we want to add a bit of theater with the trolley, a seafood bar, and live music,” says Lowe.
The restaurant is expected to act as template for a nationwide expansion of the brand from New York City to Seattle. Lowe tells Eater he has his eyes set on Miami for its next iteration and is currently looking at potential spaces in Bal Harbor, Florida.
The design of the 3,500-square-foot restaurant (927 F Street NW) is a bright change from its former life as the dimly lit chocolate-centric eatery Co Co. Sala. Scott’s is the first stateside venture from Lowe, a British hospitality vet. His resume includes running the elite members-only Morton’s bar in the heart of London and several quaint countryside inns throughout England, which influenced Scotts’ homey and welcoming design.
He’s since relocated with his wife, who is American, to Middleburg, Virginia, to be closer to their grandchildren. His son-in-law, Alan Hakimi is a big name in D.C. as the man who runs Lyon Bakery.
Status: Certified open. 927 F Street NW; website.
- Inside Penn Quarter’s Cozy Newcomer, Scotts Restaurant and Bar [EDC]
- Chef Will Artley Is Making His D.C. Comeback at Penn Quarter’s Splashy Scotts Restaurant[EDC]
- A British Restaurant and Private Whiskey Club Is Coming to Penn Quarter [EDC]
- D.C.’s Essential Whiskey Bars [EDC]
- Remembering Co Co. Sala, D.C.’s First Chocolate-Themed Restaurant [EDC]