Chef Nick Sharpe is in the process of building a permanent home for Jolene in Adams Morgan after previewing the contemporary American restaurant in a series of pop-ups. The former Ba Bay and After Peacock Room chef says he’s in the final stages of securing a space, and hopes to have the venture open by May of this year.
“The concept is essentially a tasting menu restaurant served a-la-carte,” says Sharpe. “I want to move away from the casual market that’s really being pushed right now, but I don’t want to hold people hostage to a three-hour meal.”
Though the portions will be tasting-size, Sharpe says he wants to stay away from the ubiquitous “small plates” descriptor that’s often associated with more casual restaurants. Dishes will be seasonal yet eclectic, such as house-made tofu with heirloom tomatoes, crab, and chermoula sauce, or brown butter custard with foie gras and maitake mushrooms. Jude Swafford, a Frederick, Maryland-based artist has been enlisted to design flatware and design elements such as candleholders and vases.
In preparation for the opening, Sharpe launched a Kickstarter campaign that aims to raise $20,000 for the venture by the end of the month. Rewards come in the form of dishes and full meals at the restaurant instead of swag —a decision Sharpe made in hopes of attracting neighborhood supporters.
“I want to have the feeling of a family business,” says Sharpe, who named the restaurant after his baby daughter, Jolene. “A really important party of owning a business is putting your all into it, and what’s more important than your kids?”
In addition to the permanent restaurant, look out for more pop-ups in the coming months.