Hook Hall, the year-old bar and events space that has served as a relief center for restaurant workers throughout the coronavirus crisis, recently reopened its 7,000-square-foot patio with a tropical new look and a menu of food and drinks full of Caribbean flavors.
While relief efforts were still ongoing inside, Hook Hall (3400 Georgia Avenue NW) introduced the reconfigured outdoor space, called the Oasis, last weekend. Cocktails include a spin on a gin rickey integrates guava, and a frozen honeydew melon cooler mixes the fruit with cucumber tonic and vodka. There’s also a frozen margarita and four flavors of crushes (lemon, orange, raspberry, grapefruit) that are topped with hard seltzer. The fruity flavors match new decor that includes pastel window frames, leafy palms, flamingo fabrics, and canary yellow chairs.
Chef Ryan Gordon, an owner at the Queen Vic and Granville Moore’s on H Street NE, developed a short menu of that features mangoes as an ingredient in a salad, as part of a salsa that goes into tacos, and as a garnish on crab cakes. Gordon fills seafood fritters with salt cod and shrimp, and caramelized pineapple makes its way into handmade vanilla ice cream. Hand-stretched, oblong pizzas also get the tropical treatment. There’s a Hawaiian made with capicola and a “Montego Bay” with Jamaican curried ground beef. Since there’s no on-site kitchen, Gordon outfitted a converted RV with four pizza ovens.
A clear rooftop was previously in place during the patio’s most recent life as a winter ski chalet. The setup was originally scheduled to transition into a cherry blossom-themed setup for the spring. Hours are 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Wednesday and 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Thursday. A weekend brunch (Friday through Sunday) starts at 11 a.m. The Oasis accepts walk-ins, but there are several options for customers to reserve seats. Packages cost $10, for two to four people, or $35 for six, and come beer or seltzer. Private cabana rentals with bottle service and ceiling fans go for $100 to $125 for a two-and-half-hour block.
Inside, the relief center has dished out thousands of free meals and care packages to hard-hit hospitality workers since March. Hook Hall Helps partnered with Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s nonprofit to raise $538,000 through a Workers Relief Fund that helps pay restaurants to turn donated ingredients into meals.
“When COVID-19 hit we went straight into a whole different mindset of how we can help fellow industry folks. We reached out to all purveyors and restaurants shutting down, who donated tons of product that was just sitting,” Gordon says. He spearheaded the Hook Hall Helps effort as a volunteer. A fridge truck donated by Occasions Caterers ran four months straight to salvage mass quantities of oysters, fish, and produce coming in each day.
Gordon turned Granville Moore’s into a takeout pasta shop in May. Now that’s a weekend-only venture, and he lends the space during the rest of the week to Kitchens Without Borders, an organization that gives refugee and immigrant chefs a place to cook meals that are then donated.