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Mega-Restaurateur Hakan Ilhan Is Adding Yet Another Restaurant to His Roster

A new American bistro, as well as the just-named Liberté, will debut in 2019

Morton’s in Georgetown is closing for a complete renovation and will reopen as French restaurant Brasserie Liberté next year.
Morton’s/Yelp

Prolific D.C. restaurateur Hakan Ilhan just decided what to call his new 6,000-square-foot French restaurant coming to Georgetown: Brasserie Liberté.

A planned multi-million dollar renovation will completely transform Morton’s The Steakhouse into Liberté (3251 Prospect Street NW), with an opening slated for summer 2019.

“Decor will be whimsical, approachable and very French brasserie looking,” he tells Eater.

Ilhan also just signed a deal to open an American bistro nearby in the West End, projected to offer some of the best sellers from the hodgepodge of restaurants he’s planted across the city. That 4,400-square-foot eatery is projected to open in spring 2019 at 2300 N Street NW. Landlord Lincoln Property Company announced the new lease on Wednesday, August 1.

“We are excited because it’s an underserved market,” Ilhan tells Eater.

Dishes will draw inspiration from his Turkish-inspired Ottoman Taverna, French restaurant Mirabelle (which is getting ready to reopen next week under a new chef), and Italian eateries Alba Osteria and Al Dente.

The West End restaurant will be open for lunch, happy hour, dinner, and brunch on the weekends. Recently signed office tenants include the Aspen Institute and Everfi.

The menu will feature falafel, Mediterranean salads, pizza, lentil and French onion soups, three pastas and gnocchi, hummus, kofta, a turkey and brie sandwich, steak frites, and eggs benedict. There will be two patios, with one functioning as an enclosed rosé wine garden.

He tells Eater he was close to a deal to put another bistro at JBG’s future headquarters site in Bethesda, but the numbers “didn’t work out,” he says.

Liberté’s opening is scheduled for a few months after the to-be-named West End bistro.

Liberté’s Georgetown block has seen major changes as of late. Longtime college hangout Chinese Disco just closed, and neighbor Cafe Milano just shuttered for a renovation with plans to unveil the refreshed space on Sunday, August 19.

Ilhan’s glitzy French newcomer Mirabelle has also been closed for a few weeks as it prepares to open with fresh talent and a completely revamped menu. Its new chef Keith Bombaugh, who replaces Frank Ruta, was most recently chef de cuisine at Boston Harbor Hotel’s Meritage. Stay tuned for more details of what to expect when the restaurant comes back online on Tuesday, August 7.

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