This August, Jamie Leeds of Hank’s Oyster Bar in Dupont Circle and Alexandria launches CommonWealth, a British-style tavern and restaurant, in DC’s Columbia Heights (1400 Irving St., NW). The restaurant began, like so many good ideas, with notes on a napkin. In her scribbles from more than a year ago, Leeds laid out the kind of place she wanted: a gastropub with meats and roasts and “no kitsch,” a menu of “real food” with local produce in a setting that feels “pubby.” She envisioned CommonWealth as a destination for the “weary traveler,” an “everyday” kind of place—“blue collar” and “communal,” with a center table and an “easy” mix of old and new. To a large degree, the new restaurant reflects its owner’s vision.
To learn more about the making of CommonWealth, check out our audio slideshow below. Leeds explains, through narration and her personal documents, how the idea of CommonWealth was built from scratch.
To see the nearly-completed menu (there are a few tweaks left) for CommonWealth, click here.