Crisp, the Bloomingdale bar and restaurant known for its Nashville hot wings and chicken sandwiches, is scratching its longtime poultry theme. New owners of the two-story property plan to flip it into a new bar called Hopscotch (1837 1st St NW).
“We are thinking hops for beer, and scotch for liquor,” says Matt Mazzocchi, who’s teaming up with his dad, Tommy, to reopen the space as a neighborhood place full of board games (think Sorry and Trouble) and booze.
The duo is waiting for a business license and inspections with hopes to get up and running sometime next week.
Tommy Mazzocchi was most recently a 7-year employee at Dupont Circle sports bar Maddy’s, which recently flipped to Northside Tavern. Matt, 23, says he’s worked in the restaurant industry for 10 years.
The father-son duo plan to pull from their Italian heritage by serving a short menu that includes lasagna and sandwiches alongside 10 types of red and white wine.
“It will be a simple menu — nothing that will be like a Red Hen kind of place,” he says, referring to the essential pasta parlor across the street.
Crisp’s existing chef Monroe Marsh will stay on board; his background is Italian. Basil and oregano plants growing on the outside patio will be plucked for plates. Crisp’s staff also got the option to come back.
A straightforward cocktail menu could include $5 Tito’s and $6 Jameson all day, along with a Manhattan, margarita, and summertime Crushes. Sadly, Crisp’s “BOGO” happy hour (buy-one-get-one drinks) won’t stay, but there are plans to offer discounts on small bites and sandwiches for happy hour.
Crisp closed for renovations in early March, and the planned six-week conversion process went ahead of schedule.
Newly added decor has lots of throwback and living room-style references, like a cushioned nook near the bay window and framed old school movie posters from “ET”, “10” and “Conan the Barbarian” hanging on one wall.
Along with giving the brick exterior a black-and-white look, walls inside were covered in a fresh coat of chalkboard paint to enable the team to scribble the Hopscotch name and specials. Events in the works call for DJs, acoustic sets, and bringing back comedy nights.
“We are talking about putting up pictures of regulars,” Matt Mazzocchi says.
The namesake childhood game also plays a part in the theme, with a hopscotch board on the ground leading to the entrance.
Crisp Kitchen + Bar debuted in the former Costa Brava space in fall 2015 under Ivy & Coney alumn Jamie Hess, receiving instant attention for hot chicken and homemade pickles. It sold a year and a half ago to first-time restaurateur Gabriel Neri. The Mazzocchis were eying the space at the same time.
Downstairs seats around 18, with another eight fitting in at the bar. A front patio will seat up to 12. Patrons can put in food orders from bartenders. Crisp’s upstairs patio area couldn’t fit tables because there’s a walk-in fridge, but the new owners plan to remove it to add four to five tables outside.
The replacement to Crisp is expected to tack on an extra hour of service at the front and back end, opening at 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays and until 2 a.m. on weekends. Instead of retaining its brunch focus on weekends, Hopscotch will serve a lunch-centric menu starting at 11 a.m.
“There’s a lot of good brunch options here but I’m not sure if there are a lot of good lunch places, so we want to be that option,” Matt Mazzocchi says.