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Restaurant incubator, market, and kitchen coming to Park View this spring

Chef Katy Chang’s EatsPlace, a combo of pop-up restaurant venue, commercial kitchen and market in a renovated row house in Park View, is coming this spring.

“We are actively in construction,” Chang says of the project, which ran into a roadblock in 2012 when the project failed to meet a fundraising goal on Kickstarter. “It’s all happening.”

EatsPlace will give guest chefs from all over a chance to test out new concepts or get experience in a restaurant setting. On the customer side, “they [will] just think of it as the neighborhood restaurant that happens to have interesting menus.” The first few chefs are lined up: the first will be a native Washingtonian doing a “refined, elevated soul food menu,” with a live jazz band. Chang, who makes dumplings under the brand name Baba's Cooking School, will sell dumplings either alongside pop-ups or to fill any gaps in programming. "Think of me as the house band."

Other chefs are coming from farther afield. “People are excited about testing out the market for D.C.,” Chang says.

The 1,500-square-foot space at 3607 Georgia Ave NW, a former rowhouse, will hold the kitchen, front-of-house, and a small market. (“It’s going to be a jewel box, really,” Chang says.) In the market, customers will be able to buy goods made by food vendors in the kitchen when it’s not being used by a pop-up, and her vision is that food makers might be able to partner with chefs—say a savory chef buys desserts from a food maker, or pickles from one entrepreneur get incorporated into a sandwich menu from another cook.

Construction and restoration of the nearly 100-year-old rowhouse (it dates from 1919) will take about 20 weeks, Chang says. “We’re trying to reuse as many materials as possible,” Chang adds. “When we peeled off all this nasty pant and exposed the grain of the wood, it just sang to us.”

Read more articles by Rachel Kaufman.

Rachel is the managing editor of Elevation D.C. She also covers tech, business and science for publications nationwide. She lives in Brookland.
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