If, while walking down 19th Street this Thursday, you are approached by a man dressed like Teddy Roosevelt, fear not. That’s just an actor hired by Lincoln owner Alan Popovsky to help drum up excitement for his forthcoming Teddy & the Bully Bar. He says Teddy will be stopping people on the street to ask what they know about our 26th President.
Popovsky knows a lot about him. And now so does designer Maggie O’Neill, who was also the interiors expert behind Lincoln. Popovsky says the Teddy project is the second of three executive-inspired eateries he wants to create. The third concept will be built around JFK and wife Jacqueline. “We want to infuse the First Lady into the mix to give it a different feel,” he says. “It just goes so well: Jack and Jackie.” He has yet to settle on a spot for that one. Meanwhile, we may soon see a second Lincoln pop up in another city—probably Philadelphia, says Popovsky. But first up: Teddy. Here are six things to look forward to when it opens in early 2013.
A Menu Roosevelt Would Have Liked
Popovsky says Roosevelt drank a gallon of coffee a day, and coffee will be a big deal at Teddy. Look for old-timey coffee pots hung on the wall opposite the bar area, and a selection of java from domestic roasters on the menu. Pre-Prohibition cocktails pay homage to the era, and dishes will feature game such as bison and ostrich, plus steak, fried chicken, and other fare. The restaurateur and his corporate executive chef, Demetrio Zavala, are still interviewing for the executive chef role at Teddy.
An antique stove restored in Rhode Island forms the centerpiece of the dining room, and old gas-powered light fixtures around the bar are being retrofitted with electric.
“I love taxidermy,” says Popovsky. “But I don’t like the idea of taxidermy—that something had to die prematurely to be hung on the wall.” So he commissioned artists to replicate game trophies using materials such as metal, glass, and Plexiglas. Lit with LED lighting, the “heads” hang along one wall of the dining room and are designed to be the restaurant’s pièce de résistance—the equivalent of the Emancipation Wall at Lincoln.
Other On-Theme Art Installations
A chef’s table near the entrance will be decorated with Mount Rushmore-themed art. In the back, O’Neill has designed a birch “forest” diorama designed to invoke Roosevelt’s love of the outdoors and his National Parks legacy.
“One thing that was very popular about Sam & Harry’s was the happy hour,” points out Popovsky. “We intend to move that forward.” He’s maintaining the handsome wooden bar from the prior restaurant and installing a stone floor in the bar and lounge area to create an indoor/outdoor feeling. The lounge, designed to feel like a continuation of the bar, will house high-top tables and a massive settee for relaxed drinking.
Behind the lounge area are two large rooms—similar to the back areas at Lincoln—that will be used for regular guests and private dining, depending on needs. There will also be a large fireplace in the back area and built-in shelves housing books and other period bric-a-brac. Patent leather blue chairs and a blue-and-gray-striped floor complete the look.
Look for Teddy & the Bully Bar to open in early 2013 at 1200 19th Street, Northwest.