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NYC’s Blockbuster Bistro Pastis Is Coming to the Union Market District

Starr Restaurant Group’s stylish destination for lobster frites and croque-monsieur will expand to D.C.

Patrons enjoy a midday meal at Pastis’ vine-flanked outdoor patio
Patrons enjoying a midday meal at Pastis’s vine-flanked outdoor patio in summer 2019.
Alex Staniloff/Eater
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

The powerhouse restaurateurs behind Manhattan’s celebrated French brasserie Pastis picked D.C. for its second location.

East Coast hitmaker Stephen Starr (Le Diplomate, St. Anselm) will duplicate the Meatpacking District’s scene-y bistro in D.C.’s Union Market neighborhood, per a lengthy site plan obtained by Eater. An aging, two-story warehouse space (1323 4th Street NE) will get all dolled up for its new life as Pastis, providing a glamorous backdrop for a French menu filled with beef bourguignon, sardines, escargot, and weekly specials like decadent dover sole and duck confit.

London-born hospitality magnate Keith McNally (Minetta Tavern, the Odeon, Balthazar) opened the original Pastis in 1999, which enjoyed a 15-year run as a legendary, Champagne-fueled celebrity magnet during Meatpacking District’s early heyday. Starr partnered with McNally for its anticipated resurrection, and the fellow James Beard Award winners opened a Pastis 2.0 a block away in 2019. The design-obsessed duo’s chic reboot on Gansevoort Street sports a romantic, lived-in look with worn wood planks, dark banquettes, and a zinc bar that sends out Grey Goose martinis with nicoise olives and carafes of wine.

Pastis will repurpose a two-story warehouse shell space in the Union Market district (1323 4th Street NE).
Google Maps/official photo

Parisian-style classics served in NYC will make their way down to D.C. (scroll down for a copy of the D.C. menu). Top-selling imports include roast chicken, shrimp cocktail, tuna crudo, steak tartare, onion soup, lobster frites, grilled lamb steak, filet au poivre, and a gooey croque-monsieur — one of Eater critic Robert Sietsema’s 11 favorite sandwiches to eat in NYC this winter. Expect some menu overlap with Starr’s perennially packed Le Diplomate in Logan Circle (nicoise salad, oysters, and cheeseburger “à la Americaine,” to name few), though the two French-influenced brands are separate. Dining at Pastis will be an all-day affair (8 a.m. to 2 a.m.).

Pastis’s 250-seat edition in D.C. will also feature two outdoor patios, per a recent Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) filing from Starr’s camp. Eater obtained Starr’s full, 100-plus page application through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request last week, revealing dish details and layout plans for a massive 3,200-square-foot kitchen and back of house area, plus a dining room about the same size. A pair of patios will sandwich Pastis on both sides, with one along its entrance off 4th Street NE and another spanning its back alleyway, to accommodate a total of nearly 100 alfresco diners.

Look for a featured special for each day of the week ($29-$62). Mondays call for dorade royale en papillote, a French preparation of fish in paper. The menu also lists a pan-fried dover sole with a butter, lemon, caper and parsley sauce on Thursdays; bouillabaisse (fish stew) on Fridays; and rabbit pappardelle on Saturdays.

Pastis’s executive chef is Top Chef alum and Eater D.C.’s 2018 Chef of the Year Marjorie Meek-Bradley, who opened a Union Market district offshoot of popular Brooklyn tavern St. Anselm with Starr and partner Joe Carroll in 2018. Meek-Bradley is now largely based in NYC, where she also runs the kitchen at Starr’s California-cool Upland.

A rendering of a 10-story office building
Starr Restaurant Group will occupy the South bay of Carr Properties’s new Signal House office building.

Both Starr and Meek-Bradley declined to comment at this time on the D.C. edition of Pastis or its ETA. When reached via Instagram, McNally simply “hearted” an inquiry on additional details.

Starr’s expansion streak in the industrial-styled Northeast neighborhood isn’t over. A TBA Starr restaurant is en route to a new 10-story trophy office building dubbed Signal House, owner Carr Properties confirmed. The 8,700-square-foot restaurant is scheduled to open during the first half of 2023, Carr added.

Along with St. Anselm, Starr’s Union Market district portfolio also includes a tiny alleyway bakery tasked with making Le Diplomate’s beloved breads.

Over in Georgetown, Starr is pursuing plans to plant an Italian restaurant and market in the iconic Dean & DeLuca space. Last summer, McNally teased a plan to bring his fancy NYC burger destination Minetta Tavern to the Union Market district in early 2023.